A three-dimensional lattice spring model of a heterogeneous material is presented. For small deformations, the model is shown to recover the governing equations for an isotropic elastic medium. The model gives reasonable agreement with theoretical predictions for the elastic fields generated by a spherical inclusion, although for small particle sizes the discretization of the underlying lattice causes some departures from the predicted values. Plasticity is introduced by decreasing the elastic moduli locally whilst maintaining stress continuity. Results are presented for a spherical inclusion in a plastic matrix and are found to be in good agreement with the predictions of Wilner (1988 J. Mech. Phys. Solids 36 141-65).
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