Interphase regions that form in heterogeneous materials through various underlying mechanisms such as poor mechanical or chemical adherence, roughness, and coating, play a crucial role in the response of the medium. A well- established strategy to capture a finite-thickness interphase behavior is to replace it with a zero-thickness interface model characterized by its own displacement and/or traction jumps, resulting in different interface models. The contributions to date dealing with interfaces commonly assume that the interface is located in the middle of its corresponding interphase. We revisit this assumption and introduce a universal interface model, wherein a unifying approach to the homogenization of heterogeneous materials embedding interfaces between their constituents is developed. The proposed novel interface model is universal in the sense that it can recover any of the classical interface models. Next, via incorporating this universal interface model into homogenization, we develop bounds and estimates for the overall moduli of fiber-reinforced and particle-reinforced composites as functions of the interface position and properties. Furthermore, we elaborate on the computational implications of this interface model. Finally, we carry out a comprehensive numerical study to highlight the influence of interface position, stiffness ratio and interface parameters on the overall properties of composites, where an excellent agreement between the analytical and computational results is observed. The developed interface-enhanced homogenization framework also successfully captures size effects, which are immediately relevant to emerging applications of nano-composites due their pronounced interface effects at small scales.

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