Review of the energy limiters approach to modeling failure of rubber

K. Y. Volokh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Nonlinear theories of elasticity describe rubber deformation but not failure; however, in reality, rubbers do fail. In the present work, we review a new approach of energy limiters that allows for unifying hyperelasticity theories with failure descriptions, and we discuss results of this unification. First, we introduce the energy limiter concept, which allows the enforcement of failure descriptions in elasticity theories. The limiter provides the saturation value for the strain energy, hence indicating the maximal energy that may be stored and dissipated by an infinitesimal material volume. The limiter is a material constant that can be calibrated via macroscopic experiments. Second, we illustrate the new approach with examples in which failure initiation is predicted but its propagation is not tracked. Examples include the problems of crack initiation, cavity instability, and rupture of inflating membranes. In addition, the traditional strength-of-materials criteria are reassessed. Third, the theory is used for three-dimensional explicit finite element simulations of a high-velocity penetration of a stiff elastic body into a rubber plate. These simulations show that a high-velocity penetration of a flat projectile leads to a diffused nonlocal failure, which does not trigger the mesh sensitivity. To the contrary, a low-velocity penetration of a sharp projectile leads to a highly localized cracklike failure, which does trigger the mesh sensitivity. Calculation of the characteristic length of failure localization allows for setting the mesh size that provides regularization of the simulations. The fact that the calculation is based on results of solely macroscopic experiments is noteworthy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-487
Number of pages18
JournalRubber Chemistry and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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