The hardening behavior of individual slip systems under multislip deformations is reinterpreted, which leads to a new analytical description of hardening. Most significantly, the transition from stage I (single slip easy glide) to stage II (multiple slip) hardening for “single slip” orientations of the tensile axis and, generally, the orientation dependence of hardening is well predicted. Even within a time-independent framework the hardening description leads to a unique determination of the active set of slips. Numerical calculations are based on an extremum principle and utilize a modified quadratic programming algorithm.

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