A theory for the photoelastic behaviour of transparent polycrystalline aggregates consisting of randomly oriented anisotropic crystallites has been developed. Such an aggregate is isotropic but it becomes birefringent under the influence of a uniaxial load. The photoelastic constants of the aggregate are given by the components of the spatial average of the photoelastic tensor of the single crystal, and are worked out by assuming either the strain to be continuous (Voigt approximation) or the stress to be continuous (Reuss approximation). The components of the average photoelastic tensor are very different for these two limits. The elastic and the photoelastic constants of alkali halide aggregates have been evaluated for both the stress continuity and the strain continuity conditions. The maximum variation of the elastic constants in going from the Voigt to the Reuss condition is 50 per cent while the photoelastic birefringence can vary by as much as 300 per cent in alkali halides. In the case of KI and rubidium halides even the sign of the photoelastic birefringence is different for the two limits.
Volume 94, 2020
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