Vol 68, No 6 (2016)

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A minimal gradient-enhancement of the classical continuum theory of crystal plasticity. Part I: The hardening law

H. Petryk, S. Stupkiewicz

Arch. Mech. 68 (6), 459-485, 2016

Keywords: gradient plasticity; geometrically necessary dislocations; single crystal; strain-hardening; internal length scale; size effect


A simple gradient-enhancement of the classical continuum theory of plasticity of single crystals deformed by multislip is proposed for incorporating size effects in a manner consistent with phenomenological laws established in materials science. Despite considerable efforts in developing gradient theories, there is no consensus regarding the minimal set of physically based assumptions needed to capture the slip-gradient effects in metal single crystals and to provide a benchmark for more refined approaches. In order to make a step towards such a reference model, the concept of the tensorial density of geometrically necessary dislocations generated by slip-rate gradients is combined with a generalized form of the classical Taylor formula for the flow stress. In the governing equations in the rate form, the derived internal length scale is expressed through the current flow stress and standard parameters so that no further assumption is needed to define a characteristic length. It is shown that this internal length scale is directly related to the mean free path of dislocations and possesses physical interpretation which is frequently missing in other gradient-plasticity models.

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