Constitutive model for stretch-induced softening of the stress?stretch behavior of elastomeric materials
Elastomeric materials experience stretch-induced softening as evidenced by a pre-stretched material exhibiting a significantly more compliant response than that of the virgin material. In this paper, we propose a fully three-dimensional constitutive model for the observed softening of the stress–strain behavior. The model adopts the Mullins and Tobin concept of an evolution in the underlying hard and soft domain microstructure whereby the effective volume fraction of the soft domain increases with stretch. The concept of amplified strain is then utilized in a mapping of the macroscopic deformation to the deformation experienced by the soft domain. The strain energy density function of the material is then determined from the strain energy of the soft domain and thus evolves as the volume fraction of soft domain evolves with deformation. Comparisons of model results for cyclic simple extension with the experimental data of Mullins and Tobin show the efficacy of the model and suggest that an evolution in the underlying soft/hard domain microstructure of the elastomer captures the fundamental features of stretch-induced softening. Model simulations of the cyclic stress–strain behavior and corresponding evolution in structure with strain for uniaxial tension, biaxial tension and plane strain tension are also presented and demonstrate three-dimensional features of the constitutive model.