A new constitutive equation for the long-term creep of polymers based on physical aging

S. F. Zheng, G. J. Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Based on the observation that during long-term creep the viscosity of polymers will continue to increase due to physical aging, a new constitutive equation is derived to describe the long-term creep behavior of polymers that are chrono-rheologically simple. The theory is developed using the concept of effective time for such materials whose long-term creep compliances with various aging times are characterized by a horizontal shift on the log(t)-scale. The derivation makes use of the basic mathematical structure for such a horizontal shift, with a result that is both sufficient and necessary. A linear viscosity function is found to be required for such a material, and the corresponding shift rate for both the long-term creep and the short-time creep is found to increase with aging time te, reaching an asymptotic value of unity. This theory improves Struik's (1978) classic theory for the special class of chrono-rheologically simple materials, in that, when the aging time is sufficiently long, both theories are identical, but when it is short, the present one can account for the transition to the asymptotic state. The developed effective-time theory is then extended to a polymer-matrix composite to predict the effect of physical aging on the long-term creep of a fiber-reinforced composite material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Mechanics, A/Solids
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


  • Constitutive equations
  • Long-term creep
  • Polymers and composites


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