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In this chapter it will be shown how the basic one–dimensional theory of plasticity
can be extended to the three–dimensional case.

3.1 A formulation based on the von Mises stress norm

In order to generalize the discussion found in the previous chapter, we are faced with
the problem of obtaining an evolution equation for the plastic strain tensor. In the
case of Cartesian tensors this can be illustrated in component form as below:

 ij fi
? pkl (3.3)

pkl kl uk

Fig.23 Transformation diagram

where the equilibrium equations, strain definition and stress–strain relations take
the forms:

 ij,j  f i  0 (3.1)

kl  1 (u k,l  u l,k) (3.2)


 ij  C ijkl(kl  pkl) (3.3)

Now, let the yield function be given by:

f  f ( ij)   e( ij)   y (3.4)

Note that for the one–dimensional case:


f   e   y   2   y (3.5)
from which it follows:
   sign() (3.6)
. . . f
p   sign()   (3.7)

That is, the yield function also determines the direction of the plastic flow. We now
generalize this to the three–dimensional situation and state that:

. p  . f 
ij  ij

.  0 for f  0 or f  0 and f  0
 0 for .
f  0 and f  0

The remaining problem is then how to construct the yield function f ? If we restrict
the analysis to metals, it’s found experimentally that a hydrostatic pressure p:
 ij   p  ij
doesn’t give rise to any plastic flow. Generalizing this observation, we state that the
yield function only depends on the stress deviator s ij :
f  f (s ij)
s ij   ij  
3 ij
Now, just as the ’length’ of a vector is given by the Euclidian norm:

 a  a  a  a i a i

the quantity s ij s ij gives the corresponding ’length’ or norm of the stress deviator.
Assuming that the effective stress only depends on this quantity ( the 2:nd invariant
of the stress deviator) we get:

 e   s ij s ij
Observe, that the constant  that has been included, will be chosen such that the
three dimensional theory will give us back the one dimensional theory for one–di-
mensional loading conditions. Now, with  x  , all other  ij  0 , we get:

e   23  2

By choosing   32 we get  e  || as was the requirement. Thus:

 evM  32 s ij s ij (3.9)

which is referred to as the von Mises stress norm. By the use of (3.9) we may now
explicitly calculate the quantity in (3.8):

f  e  32 s kls kl 1 3 (2s s mn) 

 ij  ij  ij 2 32 s kls kl 2  ij

3 s mn 3 ( mn  3kk  mn) 3s ij
 s mn  s mn  3 s mn( im jn  1  ij mn) 
2 evM  ij 2 evM  ij 2 evM 3 2 evM
Thus, for the three–dimensional case we get the following evolution equation for
the plastic strain:

. p  . 3s ij 

ij 2 evM

.  0 for f  0 or f  0 and f  0

 0 for .
f  0 and f  0

or alternatively since  e   y at plastic yielding:
. pij  s ij 
.  0 for f  0 or f  0 and
f  0
 0 for f  0 and f  0

. .
an expression obtained by letting    3 .
2 y
Loosely speeking one may say that the plastic flow will be in the direction of the
force ( in this case the stress deviator).
We observe that s ij hyd  s ij   0 , meaning that the stress deviator and the
ij 3 ij
hydrostatic part of the stress tensor are orthogonal. From this it then follows, that

in the three dimensional principal stress space, plastic yielding will occur on a cylin-
drical yield surface.

1  2  3
R  s  23  y


Fig.24 Cylindrical yield surface

Since at plastic flow  e  32  s  32 R   y , it follows, as shown in the fig-

ure above, that R  23  y .

By using (3.9) one may of course express the yield surface in terms of the pricipal
stresses. In this way one gets:

21  22   23   12  23   31  y (3.13)

or equivalently:
1 (   )2  (   )2  (   ) 2   (3.14)
2 1 2 2 3 3 1

For the special case of a plane stress situation, one may put  3  0 in e.g. the first
of the two equations above. By doing this one gets:
 21   22   1 2   2y (3.15)
This expression may then be rewritten as:
1 (   ) 2  3 (    )2  1 (3.16)
4 2y 1 2
4 2y 1 2

or with  1  1 ( 1   2) ,  2  1 (  1   2):
2 2

( 1)2 ( 2)2
 1 (3.17)
(2  y)2 (2  )2
3 y

which are equations for an ellipse lying in the  1 2–plane ( cutting a cylinder with
circular cross section by a plane at an oblique angel gives an elliptical cutting sur-


y 1


Fig.25 Plane stress case with the von Mises stress norm

3.2 A formulation based on the Tresca stress norm

The two for metals most commonly used stress norms are the von Mises stress norm
discussed above, and the Tresca stress norm.The latter takes the form:
 eT  max(| 1   2|, | 2   3|, | 3   1|) (3.18)
and will for a plane stress situation give the following yield line:


y according to von Mises

y 1

 y according to Tresca

Fig.26 Plane stress case with the von Mises and the Tresca stress norm

The motivation of the Tresca effective stress norm is that it represents the maximum
shear stress in the material ( on the macroscopic scale, one may add). Since plastic
flow is accomplished by dislocation movements on the microscopic scale, and since
these processes locally on the microscopic scale are gouverned by shear stresses

resolved on slip planes/ slip directions, it follows that the ( macroscopic) Tresca
yield criterion ought to have some relevancy.

3.3 The applicability of the von mises and the Tresca stress norms
Since a physical motivation can be given to both the von Mises and the Tresca stress
norms, it’s also quite natural that they predict effective stress values that are quite
close to each other. Also, experiments indicate that the initial yield surface of many
common steels and metals quite well are described by these two stress norms.
It should, however, be emphasized that this is true only for isotropic materials,
which is due to the fact that the von Mises and the Tresca yield criteria predict iso-
tropic responses.