Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 63–85 | Cite as

The evolution of laminates in finite crystal plasticity: a variational approach

Original Article


The analysis and simulation of microstructures in solids has gained crucial importance, virtue of the influence of all microstructural characteristics on a material’s macroscopic, mechanical behavior. In particular, the arrangement of dislocations and other lattice defects to particular structures and patterns on the microscale as well as the resultant inhomogeneous distribution of localized strain results in a highly altered stress–strain response. Energetic models predicting the mechanical properties are commonly based on thermodynamic variational principles. Modeling the material response in finite strain crystal plasticity very often results in a non-convex variational problem so that the minimizing deformation fields are no longer continuous but exhibit small-scale fluctuations related to probability distributions of deformation gradients to be calculated via energy relaxation. This results in fine structures that can be interpreted as the observed microstructures. In this paper, we first review the underlying variational principles for inelastic materials. We then propose an analytical partial relaxation of a Neo-Hookean energy formulation, based on the assumption of a first-order laminate microstructure, thus approximating the relaxed energy by an upper bound of the rank-one-convex hull. The semi-relaxed energy can be employed to investigate elasto-plastic models with a single as well as multiple active slip systems. Based on the minimization of a Lagrange functional (consisting of the sum of energy rate and dissipation potential), we outline an incremental strategy to model the time-continuous evolution of the laminate microstructure, then present a numerical scheme by means of which the microstructure development can be computed, and show numerical results for particular examples in single- and double-slip plasticity. We discuss the influence of hardening and of slip system orientations in the present model. In contrast to many approaches before, we do not minimize a condensed energy functional. Instead, we incrementally solve the evolution equations at each time step and account for the actual microstructural changes during each time step. Results indicate a reduction in energy when compared to those theories based on a condensed energy functional.


Crystal plasticity Elasto-plasticity Finite strains Microstructure Relaxation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Aerospace LaboratoriesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Mechanik – MaterialtheorieRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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