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Results from a previous analysis of experimental data on 6061‐T6 aluminum have been used to determine values for material parameters in constitutive equations for viscoplasticity and hardening. In contrast to previous work, the present model includes the continued hardening observed in Hopkinson bar tension experiments and predicts the wave structure measured in plate impact experiments reasonably well. An interesting conclusion of the present work is that the structure of the unsteady portions of weak shocks measured in plate impact experiments can provide a sensitive measure of hardening near the onset of plasticity.