This paper presents a constitutive formulation for materials with strain gradient effects by internal-variable approach with normality structure. Specific micro-structural rearrangements are assumed to account for the inelasticity deformations for this class of materials, and enter the constitutive formulations in form of internal variables. It is further assumed that the kinetic evolution of any specific micro-structural rearrangement may be fully determined by the thermodynamic forces associated with that micro-structural rearrangement, by normality relations via a flow potential. Macroscopic gradient-enhanced inelastic behaviours may then be predicted in terms of the microscopic internal variables and their conjugate forces, and thus a micro–macro bridging formulation is available for strain-gradient-characterised materials. The obtained formulations are first applied to crystallographic materials, and a crystal gradient plasticity model is developed to account for the influence of microscopic slip rearrangements on the macroscopic gradient-dependent mechanical behaviour for this class of materials. Micro-cracked geomaterials are also treated with these formulations and a gradient-enhanced damage constitutive model is developed to address the impacts of the evolutions of micro-cracks on the macroscopic inelastic deformations with strain gradient effects for these materials. The available formulations are further compared with other thermodynamic approaches of constitutive developing.
International Journal of Solids and Structures Vol. 43, Issue 18-19, p. 5836-5850