Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Mechanics of Rubber Shear Springs

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-2007


FEA calculations have been carried out for a model rubber shear spring, consisting of a block of a highly elastic material, bonded between two rigid parallel plates and sheared by displacing one of the plates parallel to the other in its own plane. The block was prevented from deforming in the perpendicular direction, and thus was deformed in plane strain. Stress distributions along the bond-line and the center-line are reported and compared with those expected from the theory of large elastic deformations. Unexpected tensile stresses were found to develop in the interior of the sheared block. They are attributed to the absence on the end surfaces of the stresses needed to maintain a simple shear, causing a pronounced change in the reference pressure—a consequence that is usually overlooked. Because the internal stresses are governed by the boundary conditions, they were strongly affected by the shape of the end surfaces. In addition, they were reduced markedly by assigning values to Poisson's ratio slightly lower than 0.5, thus allowing some volume expansion of the rubber. Strain energy release rates were also evaluated for growth of a crack along the bond-line, starting at the edges, and compared with those reported previously by Lindley and Teo [Energy for crack growth at the bonds of rubber springs, Plast. Rubber Mat. Appl. 4 (1979) 29–37], Muhr et al. [A fracture mechanics study of natural rubber-to-metal bond failure, J. Adhes. Sci. Technol. 10 (1996) 593–616], Gregory and Muhr [Stiffness and fracture analysis of bonded rubber blocks in simple shear, in: D. Boast, V.A. Coveny (Eds.), Finite Element Analysis of Elastomers, Professional Engineering Publications, Bury St. Edmunds, UK, 1999, pp. 265–274] and Gough and Muhr [Initiation of failure of rubber close to bondlines, in: Proceedings of the International Rubber Conference, Maastricht, Netherlands, June 2005, IOM Communications Ltd., London, 2005, pp. 165–174]. They confirm that a long crack at the compression edge will grow faster than one at the tension edge, but the results for short cracks were inconclusive.

Publication Title

International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics





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