A finite element framework for distortion gradient plasticity with applications to bending of thin foils
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd A novel general purpose Finite Element framework is presented to study small-scale metal plasticity. A distinct feature of the adopted distortion gradient plasticity formulation, with respect to strain gradient plasticity theories, is the constitutive inclusion of the plastic spin, as proposed by Gurtin (2004) through the prescription of a free energy dependent on Nye's dislocation density tensor. The proposed numerical scheme is developed by following and extending the mathematical principles established by Fleck and Willis (2009). The modeling of thin metallic foils under bending reveals a significant influence of the plastic shear strain and spin due to a mechanism associated with the higher-order boundary conditions allowing dislocations to exit the body. This mechanism leads to an unexpected mechanical response in terms of bending moment versus curvature, dependent on the foil length, if either viscoplasticity or isotropic hardening are included in the model. In order to study the effect of dissipative higher-order stresses, the mechanical response under non-proportional loading is also investigated.