The properties of the inclusions, viz. size, shape, and distribution significantly affect macroscopic properties of a polymer composite. Finite element (FE) modeling provides a viable approach for investigating the effects of the inclusions on the macroscopic properties of the polymer composite. In this paper, finite element method is used to investigate ultrasonic wave propagation in polymer matrix composite with a dispersed phase of inclusions. The finite element models are made up of three phases; viz. the polymer matrix, inclusions (micro constituent), and interphase zones between the inclusions and the polymer matrix. The analysis is performed on a three dimensional finite element model and the attenuation characteristics of ultrasonic longitudinal waves in the matrix are evaluated. The attenuation in polymer composite is investigated by changing the size, volume fraction of inclusions, and addition of interphase layer. The effect of loading frequency of the wave on the attenuation characteristics is also studied by varying the frequency in the range of 1–4 MHz.

Results of the test revealed that higher volume fraction of inclusions gave higher attenuation in the polymer composite as compared to the lower volume fraction model. Smaller size of inclusions are preferred over larger size as they give higher wave attenuation. It was found that the attenuation characteristics of the polymer composite are better at higher frequencies as compared to lower frequencies. It is also concluded that the interphase later plays a significant role in the attenuation characteristics of the composite.

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