Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



This work is concerned with the formulation of the thermodynamics of nonlocal plasticity using the gradient theory. The formulation is based on the nonlocality energy residual introduced by Eringen and Edelen (1972). Gradients are introduced for those variables associated with isotropic and kinematic hardening. The formulation applies to small strain gradient plasticity and makes use of the evanescent memory model for kinematic hardening. This is accomplished using the kinematic flux evolution as developed by Zbib and Aifantis (1987). Therefore, the present theory is a four nonlocal parameter-based theory that accounts for the influence of large variations in the plastic strain, accumulated plastic strain, accumulated plastic strain gradients, and the micromechanical evolution of the kinematic flux. Using the principle of virtual power and the laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamically-consistent equations are derived for the nonlocal plastic yield criterion and associated flow rule. The presence of higher-order gradients in the plastic strain is shown to enhance a corresponding history variable which arises from the accumulation of the plastic strain gradients. Furthermore, anisotropy is introduced by plastic strain gradients in the form of kinematic hardening. Plastic strain gradients can be attributed to the net Burgers vector, while gradients in the accumulation of plastic strain are responsible for the introduction of isotropic hardening. The equilibrium between internal Cauchy stress and the microstresses conjugate to the higher-order gradients frames the yield criterion, which is obtained from the principle of virtual power. Microscopic boundary conditions, associated with plastic flow, are introduced to supplement the macroscopic boundary conditions of classical plasticity. The nonlocal formulation developed here preserves the classical assumption of local plasticity, wherein plastic flow direction is governed by the deviatoric Cauchy stress. The theory is applied to the problems of thin films on both soft and hard substrates. Numerical solutions are presented for bi-axial tension and simple shear loading of thin films on substrates.



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Committee Chair

George Voyiadjis