The deployment of viscoelastic structures that have been held stowed for a given time duration can be formulated as a viscoelastic boundary value problem in which the prescribed condition switches from constant displacement to constant traction. This paper presents closed-form expressions for the load relaxation and shape recovery of a linear viscoelastic beam subject to such time-varying constraints. It is shown that a viscoelastic beam recovers to its original shape asymptotically over time. The analytical solutions are employed to investigate the effect of temperature and stowage time on the time required to achieve recovery with a specified precision. Based on the time-temperature equivalence principle, the relationship between recovery time and holding duration is concisely presented on a single plot. It is found that recovery time increases with holding duration but with a diminishing effect.
Mechanics Based Design of Structures and Machines, 2015, Vol 43, Issue 1, p. 95-111