In this paper, we provide a possible methodology for identifying the initiation of damage in a class of polymeric solids. Unlike most approaches to damage that introduce a damage parameter, which might be a scalar, vector or tensor, that depends on the stress or strain (that requires knowledge of an appropriate reference configuration in which the body was stress free and/or without any strain), we exploit knowledge of the fact that damage is invariably a consequence of the inhomogeneity of the body that makes the body locally ‘weak’ and the fact that the material properties of a body invariably depend on the density, among other variables that can be defined in the current configuration, of the body. This allows us to use density, for a class of polymeric materials, as a means to identify incipient damage in the body. The calculations that are carried out for the biaxial stretch of an inhomogeneous multi-network polymeric solid bears out the appropriateness of the thesis that the density of the body can be used to forecast the occurrence of damage, with the predictions of the theory agreeing well with experimental results. The study also suggests a meaningful damage criterion for the class of bodies being considered.
- Received March 31, 2016.
- Accepted July 13, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.