Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2019

Fractional generalizations of gradient mechanics

Elias C. Aifantis


This short chapter provides a fractional generalization of gradient mechanics, an approach (originally advanced by the author in the mid 80’s) that has gained world-wide attention in the last decades due to its capability of modeling pattern forming instabilities and size effects in materials, and eliminating undesired elastic singularities. It is based on the incorporation of higher-order gradients (in the form of Laplacians) in the classical constitutive equations multiplied by appropriate internal lengths accounting for the geometry/topology of underlying micro/nano structures. This review will focus on the fractional generalization of the gradient elasticity equations (GradEla), an extension of classical elasticity, to incorporate the Laplacian of Hookean stress, by replacing the standard Laplacian by its fractional counterpart. On introducing the resulting fractional constitutive equation into the classical static equilibrium equation for the stress, a fractional differential equation is obtained, whose fundamental solutions are derived by using the Green’s function procedure. As an example, Kelvin’s problem is analyzed within the aforementioned setting. Then, an extension to consider constitutive equations for a restrictive class of nonlinear elastic deformations and deformation theory of plasticity is pursued. Finally, the methodology is applied for extending the author’s higher-order diffusion theory from the integer to the fractional case.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
Scroll Up Arrow