Void behavior has a pronounced effect on the properties and soundness of most materials, and is strongly influenced by the magnitude of hydrostatic pressure during plastic deformation. Using the upper bound theorem approach with a model of idealized geometry to simulate a void-material composite, an analytical criterion for the minimum effective pressure necessary to initiate a permanent void volume change is developed. This pressure is called critical pressure, and its absolute value is the same whether for compression and void closure or tension and void opening. A deviation parameter is also defined, and it indicates that voids of a given geometry will start to open faster under tension than they will start to close under compression of the same magnitude. To compare the aforementioned analytical predictions with real material behavior, copper split billets with artificially introduced voids of predetermined geometries were deformed under different magnitudes of hydrostatic pressure: the process of wire drawing for low pressure deformation, and the fluid environment of hydrostatic extrusion for higher pressure deformation. Those characteristics found to lead to significant void volume change are: (a) high void volume fraction, (b) large relative void size, and (c) voids of unity or greater aspect ratio. Experimental data compared well with the analytical curves; thus, the analytical expressions should be useful in explaining and predicting the behavior of voids in some real materials.

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