Dynamic plastic behavior of materials is influenced by internally generated temperature gradients. These gradients are a function of thermophysical properties as well as strain rate and shear strength. Criteria are presented for the prediction of catastrophic shear in materials. Catastrophic shear occurs when the local rate of change of temperature has a negative effect on strength which is equal to or greater than the positive effect of strain-hardening. Catastrophic slip is an influential deformation mechanism during high-speed machining and ballistic impact. Structural failure may occur during dynamic loading of components which are designed without regard to the specific sensitivity of certain materials to catastrophic shear.

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