The notions of plastic flow localization are outlined in the paper. It is shown that each type of localized plasticity pattern corresponds to a definite stage of deformation hardening. In the course of plastic flow development, a changeover in the types of localization patterns occurs. The types of localization patterns are limited in number: four pattern types are all that can be expected. A correspondence was set up between the emergent localization pattern and the respective flow stage. It is found that the localization patterns are manifestations of the autowave nature of plastic flow localization process, with each pattern type corresponding to a definite mode of autowave. In the course of plastic flow development, the following modes of autowaves will form in the following sequence: switching autowave → phase autowave → stationary dissipative structure → collapse of the autowave. Of particular interest are the phase autowave and the respective pattern observed. Propagation velocity, dispersion, and grain size dependence of wavelength were determined experimentally for the phase autowave. An elastic-plastic strain invariant was also introduced to relate the elastic and plastic properties of the deforming medium. It is found that the autowave characteristics follow directly from this invariant.
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