The Concept of a Minimal State in Viscoelasticity: New Free Energies and Applications to PDEs



We show here the impact on the initial-boundary value problem, and on the evolution of viscoelastic systems of the use of a new definition of state based on the stress-response (see, e.g., [48, 16, 41]). Comparisons are made between this new approach and the traditional one, which is based on the identification of histories and states. We shall refer to a stress-response definition of state as the minimal state [29]. Materials with memory and with relaxation are discussed.

The energetics of linear viscoelastic materials is revisited and new free energies, expressed in terms of the minimal state descriptor, are derived together with the related dissipations. Furthermore, both the minimum and the maximum free energy are recast in terms of the minimal state variable and the current strain.

The initial-boundary value problem governing the motion of a linear viscoelastic body is re-stated in terms of the minimal state and the velocity field through the principle of virtual power. The advantages are (i) the elimination of the need to know the past-strain history at each point of the body, and (ii) the fact that initial and boundary data can now be prescribed on a broader space than resulting from the classical approach based on histories. These advantages are shown to lead to natural results about well-posedness and stability of the motion.

Finally, we show how the evolution of a linear viscoelastic system can be described through a strongly continuous semigroup of (linear) contraction operators on an appropriate Hilbert space. The family of all solutions of the evolutionary system, obtained by varying the initial data in such a space, is shown to have exponentially decaying energy.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento S.A.V.A.Università degli Studi del MoliseCampobassoItalia
  2. 2.Department of Theoretical and Applied MechanicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Dipartimento di MatematicaUniversità degli Studi di BolognaBolognaItalia
  4. 4.School of Mathematical SciencesDublin Institute of TechnologyIreland

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