A measure of the non-coaxiality involved in progressive deformation histories is proposed in the form of the kinematical vorticity number, Wk. This number is a measure of the relative effects of rotation of material lines (relative to the instantaneous stretching axes) and of stretching of these material lines. As such, Wk, is a measure of the instantaneous degree of non-coaxiality. A detailed example is first presented in the form of a progressive simple shearing in which the shear plane rotates relative to an external coodinate system. This is followed by examples of more complicated deformation histories. Three specific types of progressive, isochoric (constant volume) deformation histories are recognized. Those for which 0 ≤ Wk < 1 correspond to deformation histories where no line that has been extended is shortened in future increments; Wk > 0 is a special case of these corresponding to a coaxial history. Histories with Wk > 0 are non-coaxial. Those histories with Wk = 1 correspond to progressive simple shearing. Those histories with 1 < Wk < ∞ are pulsating and lines that have been extended may be shortened in future increments
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