Size effects in phenomenological strain gradient plasticity constitutively involving the plastic spin

Lorenzo Bardella

DICATA, University of Brescia, Via Branze 43, Brescia 25123, Italy


In the small deformation range, we consider and discuss the phenomenological (or isotropic) "higher-order" theory of strain gradient plasticity put forward in section 12 of Gurtin (2004, JMPS), which includes the dissipation due to the plastic spin through a material parameter called C. In fact, C weighs the square of the plastic spin rate into the definition of an "effective" measure of plastic flow peculiar of the isotropic hardening function. Such a model has been identified by Bardella (2009) as a good isotropic approximation of a crystal model to describe the multislip behaviour of a single grain, provided that C be set as a specific function of other material parameters involved in the modelling, including the length scales. The main feature of the underlying gradient approach is the accounting for both "dissipative" and "energetic" strain gradient dependences, with related size effects. The dissipative strain gradients enter the model through the definition of the above mentioned effective measure of plastic flow, whereas the energetic strain gradients are involved in the modelling by defining the "defect energy", a function of Nye's dislocation density tensor added to the free energy to account for geometrically necessary dislocations (see, e.g., Gurtin, 2004). By exploiting the deformation theory approximation, we apply the model to a simple boundary value problem so that we can discuss the effects of (a) the criterium derived by Bardella (2009) for choosing C and (b) non-quadratic forms of the defect energy. We show that both C and the nonlinearity chosen for the defect energy strongly affect quality and magnitude of the energetic size effect which is possible to predict.

Author Keywords: Strain gradient plasticity; Plastic spin; Principle of virtual work; Deformation theory