Degradation in shape-memory alloy response is a crucial concern for a variety of innovative applications. Under cyclic loadings, these materials generally experience permanent inelastic deformations. The onset of plasticization is known to be very sensitive to the microstructure of the polycrystalline specimen. Moving from recent experimental findings (Malard et al. in Funct Mater Lett 2:45-54, 2009 ; Acta Mater 59:1542-1556, 2011), we present a phenomenological model for permanent inelastic effects in shape-memory alloys taking into account the polycrystalline microstructure. In particular, the mechanical response under cyclic loadings is investigated in connection with the mean crystal grain size. Formulated within the variational frame of generalized standard materials, the model consists in an extension of the model in Auricchio et al. (Int J Plast 23:207-226, 2007) to the case of microstructure-dependent parameters. The mathematical setting is discussed and numerical simulations showing the capability of the model to reproduce experiments are presented.
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