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Journal of Engineering
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 456398, 7 pages
Research Article

On the Effect of Unit-Cell Parameters in Predicting the Elastic Response of Wood-Plastic Composites

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran 14115-111, Iran
2School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, Canada V1V 1V7

Received 27 November 2012; Accepted 8 February 2013

Academic Editor: Toshio Hattori

Copyright © 2013 Fatemeh Alavi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a study on the effect of unit-cell geometrical parameters in predicting elastic properties of a typical wood plastic composite (WPC). The ultimate goal was obtaining the optimal values of representative volume element (RVE) parameters to accurately predict the mechanical behavior of the WPC. For each unit cell, defined by a given combination of the above geometrical parameters, finite element simulation in ABAQUS was carried out, and the corresponding stress-strain curve was obtained. A uniaxial test according to ASTM D638-02a type V was performed on the composite specimen. Modulus of elasticity was determined using hyperbolic tangent function, and the results were compared to the sets of finite element analyses. Main effects of RVE parameters and their interactions were demonstrated and discussed, specially regarding the inclusion of two adjacent wood particles within one unit cell of the material. Regression analysis was performed to mathematically model the RVE parameter effects and their interactions over the modulus of elasticity response. The model was finally employed in an optimization analysis to arrive at an optimal set of RVE parameters that minimizes the difference between the predicted and experimental moduli of elasticity.