A full understanding of the sequence of processes exhibited by yield stress fluids under large amplitude oscillatory shearing is developed using multiple experimental and analytical approaches. A novel component rate Lissajous curve, where the rates at which strain is acquired unrecoverably and recoverably are plotted against each other, is introduced and its utility is demonstrated by application to the analytical responses of four simple viscoelastic models. Using the component rate space, yielding and unyielding are identified by changes in the way strain is acquired, from recoverably to unrecoverably and back again. The behaviors are investigated by comparing the experimental results with predictions from the elastic Bingham model that is constructed using the Oldroyd–Prager formalism and the recently proposed continuous model by Kamani, Donley, and Rogers in which yielding is enhanced by rapid acquisition of elastic strain. The physical interpretation gained from the transient large amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS) data is compared to the results from the analytical sequence of physical processes framework and a novel time-resolved Pipkin space. The component rate figures, therefore, provide an independent test of the interpretations of the sequence of physical processes analysis that can also be applied to other LAOS analysis frameworks. Each of these methods, the component rates, the sequence of physical processes analysis, and the time-resolved Pipkin diagrams, unambigiously identifies the same material physics, showing that yield stress fluids go through a sequence of physical processes that includes elastic deformation, gradual yielding, plastic flow, and gradual unyielding.

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