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Ronald Rivlin

Ronald S. Rivlin (1915–2005) was an American physicist and mathematician. One of creators of the modern theory of large elastic deformations, including theory of Neo-Hookean solids and Mooney-Rivlin solids.

He was born in England in 1915, was educated at Cambridge University. Up until his death in October 2005, he was a professor-emeritus at Lehigh University.

Rivlin was a prominent rheologist involved in placing early rheological modeling on firm mathematical footing.

Rivlin was born in London, and he received his BA degree in physics and mathematics from St. John’s College at Cambridge in (1937) and a doctorate (ScD) from Cambridge in 1952.

Rivlin first worked for the General Electric Company (1937–1942), where he came into contact with the prominent rubber expert L. R. G. Treloar. From 1942–1944 Rivlin worked at Telecommunications Research Establishment and subsequently moved to the British Rubber Producers Research Association (1944–1952). Rivlin is believed to have become interested in viscoelastic liquids through his contact with Treloar, who influenced his decision to move to BRPRA, and as a result of seeing the normal-force-driven rod-climbing experiments of Karl Weissenberg during his time at BRPRA. In 1953 Rivlin moved into academia, becoming professor of applied mathematics at Brown University, where he taught until 1967. In 1963 he co-hosted the 4th International Congress on Rheology in Providence, RI with R. S. Marvin. Rivlin moved to Lehigh University in 1967 and retired from that institution in 1980.

Rivlin’s work figured prominently in the history of the development of constitutive equations for non-Newtonian fluids. The Reiner-Rivlin equation (stress is a quadratic function of the rate-of-strain tensor) was an early non-Newtonian constitutive equation, perhaps the first nonlinear constitutive equation to be properly frame-invariant. This inelastic constitutive equation was proposed by Markus Reiner from phenomenological arguments, while Rivlin deduced the same equation as the mathematical form that is consistent both with the stress being a function only of the rate-of-deformation tensor and independence of the calculation from superposed rigid rotation (frame-invariance). Rivlin’s name stands with those of Oldroyd, Ericksen, Green, Coleman, and Noll as fundamental to the development of modern constitutive theories for elastic liquids.

Rivlin received the Society of Rheology Bingham Medal in 1958 and was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Charles Goodyear medal from the American Chemical Society's Rubber Division in 1992. Ronald Samuel Rivlin died on 4 October 2005 at the age of 90.


  • Rheology Bulletin, 75(1), January 2006
  • TOMAS CARLSSON, FRANK M. LESLIE, The development of theory for flow and dynamic effects for nematic liquid crystals, Liquid Crystals, V 26, N 9 / September 1, 1999, pp. 1267 - 1280, URL:
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ronald_Rivlin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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