Liqun Qi, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Middle Lecture Room
Third order tensors have wide applications in mechanics, physics and engineering. The most famous and useful third order tensor is the piezoelectric tensor, which plays a key role in the piezoelectric effect, first discovered by Curie brothers. On the other hand, the Levi-Civita tensor is famous in tensor calculus. In this paper, we study third order tensors and (third order) hypermatrices systematically, by regarding a third order tensor as a linear operator which transforms a second order tensor into a first order tensor, or a first order tensor into a second order tensor. For a third order tensor, we define its transpose, kernel tensor and L-inverse. The transpose of a third order tensor is uniquely defined. In particular, the transpose of the piezoelectric tensor is the inverse piezoelectric tensor (the electrostriction tensor).
The kernel tensor of a third order tensor is a second order positive semi-definite symmetric tensor, which is the product of that third order tensor and its transpose. We define non-singularity for a third order tensor. A third order tensor has an L-inverse if and only if it is nonsingular. Here,
L is named after Levi-Civita. We also define L-eigenvalues, singular values, C-eigenvalues and Z-eigenvalues for a third order tensor. They are all invariants of that third order tensor. A third order tensor is nonsingular if and only if all of its L-eigenvalues are positive. Physical meanings of these new concepts are discussed. We show that the Levi-Civita tensor is nonsingular, its L-inverse is a half of itself, and its three L-eigenvalues are all the square root of two. We also introduce third order orthogonal tensors. Third order orthogonal tensors are nonsingular. Their L-inverses are their transposes.