An improved plastically dilatant unified viscoplastic constitutive formulation for multiscale analysis of polymer matrix composites under high strain rate loading

Christopher Sorini, Aditi Chattopadhyay, Robert K. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Polymer matrix composites are commonly used to fabricate energy-absorbing structures expected to experience impact loading. As such, a detailed understanding of the dynamic response of the constituent materials is necessary. Since the rate, temperature, and pressure dependence of carbon fiber reinforced polymer matrix composites are primarily manifestations of the rate, temperature, and pressure dependence of the polymer matrix, it is crucial that the constitutive behavior of the matrix be accurately characterized. In this work, an existing unified viscoplastic constitutive formulation is extended to ensure thermodynamic consistency and to more accurately account for the tension-compression asymmetry observed in the response of polymeric materials. A new plastic potential function is proposed, and elementary loading conditions are utilized to determine relations between model constants to ensure nonnegative plastic dissipation, a necessary thermodynamic requirement. Expressions for plastic Poisson's ratios are derived and are bounded by enforcing nonnegative plastic dissipation. The model is calibrated against available experimental data from tests conducted over a range of strain rates, temperatures, and loading cases on a representative thermoset epoxy; good correlation between simulations and experimental data is obtained. Temperature rises due to the conversion of plastic work to heat are computed via the adiabatic heat energy equation. The viscoplastic polymer model is then used as a constitutive model in the generalized method of cells micromechanics framework to investigate the effects of matrix adiabatic heating on the high strain rate response of a unidirectional composite. The thermodynamic consistency of the model ensures plastic dissipation can only cause an increase in temperature. Simulation results indicate significant thermal softening due to the conversion of plastic work to heat in the composite for matrix dominated deformation modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107669
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes



  • Adiabatic heating
  • Micromechanics
  • Plastically compressible
  • Plastically dilatant
  • Polymer matrix composites (PMCs)
  • Tension-compression asymmetry
  • Viscoplasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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