In this paper the four classical Hashin-Shtrikman variational principles, applied to the homogenization problem for periodic composites with a nonlinear hyperelastic constitutive behavior, are analyzed. It is proved that two of them are indeed minimum principles while the other two are saddle point principles. As a consequence, every approximation of the former ones provide bounds on the effective properties of composite bodies, while approximations of the latter ones may supply inconsistent bounds, as it is shown by two numerical examples. Nevertheless, the approximations of the saddle point principles are expected to provide better estimates than the approximations of the minimum principles.

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