A fractional model of continuum mechanics

C. S. Drapaca, S. Sivaloganathan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Although there has been renewed interest in the use of fractional models in many application areas, in reality fractional analysis has a long and distinguished history and can be traced back to the likes of Leibniz (Letter to L'Hospital, 1695), Liouville (J. Éc. Polytech. 13:71, 1832), and Riemann (Gesammelte Werke, p. 62, 1876). Recent publications (Podlubny in Math. Sci. Eng. 198, 1999; Sabatier et al. in Advances in fractional calculus: theoretical developments and applications in physics and engineering, Springer, Berlin, 2007; Das in Functional fractional calculus for system identification and controls, Springer, Berlin, 2007) demonstrate that fractional derivative models have found widespread applications in science and engineering. Late fundamental considerations have led to the introduction of fractional calculus in continuum mechanics in an attempt to develop non-local constitutive relations (Lazopoulos in Mech. Res. Commun. 33:753-757, 2006). Attempts have also been made to model microscopic forces using fractional derivatives (Vazquez in Nonlinear waves: classical and quantum aspects, pp. 129-133, 2004). Our approach in this paper differs from previous theoretical work, in that we develop a general framework directly from the classical continuum mechanics, by defining the laws of motion and the stresses using fractional derivatives. The timeliness and relevance of this work is justified by the surge in interest in applications of fractional order models to biological, physical and economic systems. The aim of the present paper is to lay the foundations for a new non-local model of continuum mechanics based on fractional order derivatives which we will refer to as the fractional model of continuum mechanics. Following the theoretical development, we apply this framework to two one-dimensional model problems: the deformation of an infinite bar subjected to a self-equilibrated load distribution, and the propagation of longitudinal waves in a thin finite bar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-123
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Elasticity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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