Thermodynamic consistency of beam theories in the context of classical and non-classical continuum mechanics and a thermodynamically consistent new formulation Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. In order to enhance currently used beam theories in R2 and R3 to include mechanisms of dissipation and memory, it is necessary to establish if the mathematical models for these theories can be derived using the conservation and the balance laws of continuum mechanics in conjunction with the corresponding kinematic assumptions. This is referred to as thermodynamic consistency of the beam mathematical models. Thermodynamic consistency of the currently used beam models will permit use of entropy inequality to establish constitutive theories in the presence of dissipation and memory mechanism in the currently used beam theories. This is the main motivation for the work presented in this paper. The currently used beam theories are derived based on kinematic assumptions related to the axial and transverse displacement fields. These are then used to derive strain measures followed by constitutive relations. For linear beam theories, strain measures are linear functions of displacement gradients and stresses are linear functions of strain measures. Using these stress and strain measures, energy functional is constructed over the volume of the beam consisting of kinetic energy, strain energy and potential energy of loads. The Euler’s equation(s) extracted from the first variation of this energy functional set to zero yields the differential equations describing the evolution of the deforming beam. Alternatively, principle of virtual work can also be used to derive mathematical models for beams. For linear elastic behavior with small deformation and small strain, the two approaches yield same mathematical models. In this paper we examine whether the currently used beam mathematical models with the corresponding kinematic assumption (i) can be derived using the conservation and balance laws of classical continuum mechanics or (ii) are the conservation and balance laws of non-classical continuum mechanics necessary in their derivation. In order to ensure that the mathematical models for various beam theories result in deformation that is in thermodynamic equilibrium we must establish the consistency of the beam theories with regard to the conservation and the balance laws of continuum mechanics, classical or non-classical in conjunction with their corresponding kinematic assumptions. Currently used Euler–Bernoulli and Timoshenko beam mathematical models that are representative of most beam mathematical models are investigated. This is followed by details of general and higher-order thermodynamically consistent beam theory that is free of kinematic assumptions and other approximations and remains valid for slender as well as deep beams. Model problem studies are presented for slender as well as deep beams. The new formulation presented in this paper ensures thermodynamic equilibrium as it is derived using the conservation and the balance laws of continuum mechanics and remains valid for slender as well as non-slender beams.

author list (cited authors)

  • Surana, K. S., Mysore, D., & Reddy, J. N.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • January 2019