Fully optimized second-order variational estimates for the macroscopic response and field statistics in viscoplastic crystalline composites.

*(English)*Zbl 1371.74057Summary: A variational method is developed to estimate the macroscopic constitutive response of composite materials consisting of aggregates of viscoplastic single-crystal grains and other inhomogeneities. The method derives from a stationary variational principle for the macroscopic stress potential of the viscoplastic composite in terms of the corresponding potential of a linear comparison composite (LCC), whose viscosities and eigenstrain rates are the trial fields in the variational principle. The resulting estimates for the macroscopic response are guaranteed to be exact to second order in the heterogeneity contrast, and to satisfy known bounds. In addition, unlike earlier ‘second-order’ methods, the new method allows optimization with respect to both the viscosities and eigenstrain rates, leading to estimates that are fully stationary and exhibit no duality gaps. Consequently, the macroscopic response and field statistics of the nonlinear composite can be estimated directly from the suitably optimized LCC, without the need for difficult-to-compute correction terms. The method is applied to a simple example of a porous single crystal, and the results are found to be more accurate than earlier estimates.