A multiscale MD-FE model of diffusion in composite media with internal surface interaction based on numerical homogenization procedure

M. Kojic, M. Milosevic, N. Kojic, K. Kim, M. Ferrari, A. Ziemys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Mass transport by diffusion within composite materials may depend not only on internal microstructural geometry, but also on the chemical interactions between the transported substance and the material of the microstructure. Retrospectively, there is a gap in methods and theory to connect material microstructure properties with macroscale continuum diffusion characteristics. Here we present a new hierarchical multiscale model for diffusion within composite materials that couples material microstructural geometry and interactions between diffusing particles and the material matrix. This model, which bridges molecular dynamics (MD) and the finite element (FE) method, is employed to construct a continuum diffusion model based on a novel numerical homogenization procedure. The procedure is general and robust for evaluating constitutive material parameters of the continuum model. These parameters include the traditional bulk diffusion coefficients and, additionally, the distances from the solid surface accounting for surface interaction effects. We implemented our models to glucose diffusion through the following two geometrical/material configurations: tightly packed silica nanospheres, and a complex fibrous structure surrounding nanospheres. Then, rhodamine 6G diffusion analysis through an agarose gel network was performed, followed by a model validation using our experimental results. The microstructural model, numerical homogenization and continuum model offer a new platform for modeling and predicting mass diffusion through complex biological environment and within composite materials that are used in a wide range of applications, like drug delivery and nanoporous catalysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-138
Number of pages16
JournalComputer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Composite media
  • Diffusion
  • Finite element method
  • Homogenization
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Multiscale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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