The generalised Mooney space for modelling the response of rubber-like materials

Afshin Anssari-Benam, Andrea Bucchi, Michel Destrade, Giuseppe Saccomandi

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Soft materials such as rubbers, silicones, gels and biological tissues have a nonlinear response to large deformations, a phenomenon which in principle can be captured by hyperelastic models. The suitability of a candidate hyperelastic strain energy function is then determined by comparing its predicted response to the data gleaned from tests and adjusting the material parameters to get a good fit, an exercise which can be deceptive because of nonlinearity. Here we propose to generalise the approach of Rivlin and Saunders (Philos. Trans. R. Soc. A, Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 243:251–288, 1951) who, instead of reporting the data as stress against stretch, manipulated these measures to create the ‘Mooney plot’, where the Mooney-Rivlin model is expected to produce a linear fit. We show that extending this idea to other models and modes of deformation (tension, shear, torsion, etc.) is advantageous, not only (a) for the fitting procedure, but also to (b) delineate trends in the deformation which are not obvious from the raw data (and may be interpreted in terms of micro-, meso-, and macro-structures) and (c) obtain a bounded condition number κ over the whole range of deformation, a robustness which is lacking in other plots and spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Elasticity
Early online date23 Mar 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 23 Mar 2022


  • soft materials
  • nonlinear elasticity
  • curve fitting
  • Mooney plot
  • condition number


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