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Abstract

In recent years, an increasing interest has been shown in functional materials such as ferroelectric polymers. For such materials, viscous effects and electric polarizations cause hysteresis phenomena accompanied with possibly large remanent strains and rotations. Ferroelectric polymers have many attractive characteristics. They are light, inexpensive, fracture tolerant, and pliable. Furthermore, they can be manufactured into almost any conceivable shape and their properties can be tailored to suit a broad range of requirements. In this work, continuous and discrete variational formulations are exploited for the treatment of the non-linear dissipative response of ferroelectric polymers under electrical loading. The point of departure is a general internal variable formulation that determines the hysteretic response of this class of materials in terms of an energy storage and a rate-dependent dissipation function. The ferroelectric constitutive assumptions, which account for specific problems arising in the geometric nonlinear setting, are discussed. With regard to the choice of the internal variables, a critical factor is the kinematic assumptions. Here, we propose the multiplicative decomposition of the local deformation gradient into reversible and remanent parts, where the latter is characterized by a metric tensor. (© 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)