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Volume 87, Number 5, September 2009
Article Number 58001
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 15 September 2009
EPL, 87 (2009) 58001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/87/58001

Mechanics and size-dependent elasticity of composite networks

H. Wada1 and Y. Tanaka2

1   Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kyoto University - Kyoto 606-8502, Japan
2   Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University - Sapporo 001-0020, Japan

received 15 April 2009; accepted in final form 10 August 2009; published September 2009
published online 15 September 2009

We develop a continuum mechanics theory of small deformations of isotropic composites made of elastic networks with significantly different mechanical properties such as hard and soft components. We show that those composites exhibit spatially non-local elasticity due to energetic coupling between the constituent networks. For realistic finite-size materials, this elastic property leads to a size-dependent Young's modulus. The size-dependent elasticity is generic and can be observed in a variety of composites consisting of largely different mechanical elements, which are ubiquitous in biological and synthetic soft materials.

87.10.Pq - Elasticity theory.
83.80.Ab - Solids: e.g., composites, glasses, semicrystalline polymers.
83.80.Kn - Physical gels and microgels.

© EPLA 2009