Cross-linked fiber network embedded in an elastic matrix
The mechanical behavior of a three-dimensional cross-linked fiber network embedded in a matrix is studied in this work. The network is composed from linear elastic fibers which store energy only in the axial deformation mode, while the matrix is also isotropic and linear elastic. Such systems are encountered in a broad range of applications, from tissue to consumer products. As the matrix modulus increases, the network is constrained to deform more affinely. This leads to internal forces acting between the network and the matrix, which produce strong stress concentration at the network cross-links. This interaction increases the apparent modulus of the network and decreases the apparent modulus of the matrix. A model is developed to predict the effective modulus of the composite and its predictions are compared with numerical data for a variety of networks.