An elastic, partially transparent solid, occupying the half space x > 0, is subjected to uniform impulsive electromagnetic radiation at the surface x = 0. The deposition of radiant energy over a finite absorption depth gives rise to a distributed heat source within the solid (thermal shock) which, in turn, dilatates the medium and generates a stress wave. In this paper, the nature of the stress-wave buildup in the absorption layer is studied for the case of a temperature-dependent solid, i.e., when material properties vary with temperature. The mathematical problem is one of wave propagation in a nonhomogeneous medium. An approximate solution to the posed problem is developed which readily exhibits the influence of temperature. Error bounds are provided. The results are illustrated by a numerical example.

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