In heterogeneous solids such as rocks and concrete, the speed of sound diminishes with the strain amplitude of a dynamic loading (softening). This decrease, known as ‘slow dynamics’, occurs at time scales larger than the period of the forcing. Also, hysteresis is observed in the steady-state response. The phenomenological model by Vakhnenko et al. (2004 Phys. Rev. E 70, 015602. (doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.70.015602)) is based on a variable that describes the softening of the material. However, this model is one dimensional and it is not thermodynamically admissible. In the present article, a three-dimensional model is derived in the framework of the finite-strain theory. An internal variable that describes the softening of the material is introduced, as well as an expression of the specific internal energy. A mechanical constitutive law is deduced from the Clausius–Duhem inequality. Moreover, a family of evolution equations for the internal variable is proposed. Here, an evolution equation with one relaxation time is chosen. By construction, this new model of the continuum is thermodynamically admissible and dissipative (inelastic). In the case of small uniaxial deformations, it is shown analytically that the model reproduces qualitatively the main features of real experiments.
Non-destructive evaluation, softening, hysteresis, dynamic acoustoelasticity