Classical continuum models, i.e. continuum models that do not incorporate an internal length scale, suffer from pathological mesh‐dependence when strain‐softening models are employed in failure analyses. In this contribution the governing field equations are regularized by adding rotational degrees‐of‐freedom to the conventional translational degrees‐of‐freedom. This so‐called elasto‐plastic Cosserat continuum model, for which an efficient and accurate integration algorithm and a consistent tangent operator are also derived in this contribution, warrants convergence of the load—deflection curve to a unique solution upon mesh refinement and a finite width of the localization zone. This is demonstrated for an infinitely long shear layer and a biaxial test of a strain‐softening elasto‐plastic von Mises material.
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