By way of numerical examples, this paper explores the nature of solutions to a class of strain gradient plasticity theories that employ conventional stresses, equilibrium equations and boundary conditions. Strain gradients come into play in these modified conventional theories only to alter the tangent moduli governing increments of stress and strain. It is shown that the modification is far from benign from a mathematical standpoint, changing the qualitative character of solutions and leading to a new type of localization that is at odds with what is expected from a strain gradient theory. The findings raise questions about the physical acceptability of this class of strain gradient theories.
European Journal of Mechanics a - Solids, 2003, Vol 22, Issue 6, p. 771-778