Multi-scale prediction of chemo-mechanical properties of concrete materials through asymptotic homogenization

Emanuela Bosco (Corresponding author), R.J.M.A. Claessens, Akke S.J. Suiker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


In the present contribution, the effective mechanical, diffusive, and chemo-expansive properties of concrete are
computed from a multi-scale and multi-physics approach. The distinctive features of the approach are that i) the
mechanical and diffusive responses are modelled in a coupled fashion (instead of separately, as is usually done),
and that ii) the multi-scale model considers three different scales of observation, which allows for including
heterogeneous effects from both the micro- and meso-scales in the effective macro-scale properties of concrete.
At the macro-scale, the concrete material is considered as homogeneous, whereas at the meso-scale it consists of
particle aggregates embedded in a porous cement paste. At the micro-scale the porous cement paste is described
as a two-phase material, composed of a solid cement phase and saturated capillary pores. Adopting a two-level
asymptotic homogenization procedure, the effective meso-scale properties of the porous cement paste are
computed first, using a unit cell that includes the cement paste and pore characteristics. Subsequently, the
obtained meso-scale response of the porous cement paste, together with the aggregate characteristics, defines the
material properties of a second unit cell, which is used for calculating the effective macro-scale response of
concrete. The distributions of the pores and the aggregates within the unit cells are determined from a uniform,
random distribution of points, and their radii are defined from a probability distribution function. The efficacy of
the proposed framework is illustrated by studying the effective mesoscopic response of a porous cement paste,
which demonstrates the influence of the micro-scale porosity and pore percolation. Next, the effective macroscopic
response of concrete is analysed, by considering the influence of the aggregate volume fraction, the
mismatches in elastic stiffnesses and diffusivity between the aggregate and the cement paste, and the porosity.
The computed effective properties are compared with experimental data from the literature, showing a good
Original languageEnglish
Article number105929
Number of pages13
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Chemo-mechanical behaviour
  • Finite element method
  • Multi-physics
  • Multi-scale


Dive into the research topics of 'Multi-scale prediction of chemo-mechanical properties of concrete materials through asymptotic homogenization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this