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Extracting Material Response from Simple Mechanical Tests on Hardening-Softening-Hardening Viscoplastic Solids


Mohan, Nisha (2014) Extracting Material Response from Simple Mechanical Tests on Hardening-Softening-Hardening Viscoplastic Solids. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/MMTW-FF91.


Compliant foams are usually characterized by a wide range of desirable mechanical properties. These properties include viscoelasticity at different temperatures, energy absorption, recoverability under cyclic loading, impact resistance, and thermal, electrical, acoustic and radiation-resistance. Some foams contain nano-sized features and are used in small-scale devices. This implies that the characteristic dimensions of foams span multiple length scales, rendering modeling their mechanical properties difficult. Continuum mechanics-based models capture some salient experimental features like the linear elastic regime, followed by non-linear plateau stress regime. However, they lack mesostructural physical details. This makes them incapable of accurately predicting local peaks in stress and strain distributions, which significantly affect the deformation paths. Atomistic methods are capable of capturing the physical origins of deformation at smaller scales, but suffer from impractical computational intensity. Capturing deformation at the so-called meso-scale, which is capable of describing the phenomenon at a continuum level, but with some physical insights, requires developing new theoretical approaches.

A fundamental question that motivates the modeling of foams is ‘how to extract the intrinsic material response from simple mechanical test data, such as stress vs. strain response?’ A 3D model was developed to simulate the mechanical response of foam-type materials. The novelty of this model includes unique features such as the hardening-softening-hardening material response, strain rate-dependence, and plastically compressible solids with plastic non-normality. Suggestive links from atomistic simulations of foams were borrowed to formulate a physically informed hardening material input function. Motivated by a model that qualitatively captured the response of foam-type vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) pillars under uniaxial compression [2011,“Analysis of Uniaxial Compression of Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes,” J. Mech.Phys. Solids, 59, pp. 2227–2237, Erratum 60, 1753–1756 (2012)], the property space exploration was advanced to three types of simple mechanical tests: 1) uniaxial compression, 2) uniaxial tension, and 3) nanoindentation with a conical and a flat-punch tip. The simulations attempt to explain some of the salient features in experimental data, like
1) The initial linear elastic response.
2) One or more nonlinear instabilities, yielding, and hardening.

The model-inherent relationships between the material properties and the overall stress-strain behavior were validated against the available experimental data. The material properties include the gradient in stiffness along the height, plastic and elastic compressibility, and hardening. Each of these tests was evaluated in terms of their efficiency in extracting material properties. The uniaxial simulation results proved to be a combination of structural and material influences. Out of all deformation paths, flat-punch indentation proved to be superior since it is the most sensitive in capturing the material properties.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:material modeling, foams mechanics, material instabilities
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Space Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Greer, Julia R.
Thesis Committee:
  • Kochmann, Dennis M. (chair)
  • Ortiz, Michael
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
  • Greer, Julia R.
Defense Date:3 April 2014
Non-Caltech Author Email:nishanthini089 (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. Army Research OfficeARO Award #UCSB.ICB4b
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05142014-151151819
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8235
Deposited By: Nisha Mohan
Deposited On:20 May 2014 16:48
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:27

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