Rabotnov, Y. N.
The term creep of metals is applied to the phenomenon in which, at temperatures beyond a certain limit, the metal subjected to a load slowly undergoes deformation with time. For the case of steel, the creep phenomenon must be taken into account at temperatures above 400 degrees C. Very slow deformations for a prolonged period are cumulative and lead either to inadmissible changes in the dimensions of a structural part or to its failure. The theory of creep constitutes part of the mechanics of dense media and the mechanical formulation of the problem may be given as the following: a body is subjected to the action of a given system of forces, or initial displacements are prescribed on its surface. It is required to find the stress distribution in the body and the changes or its deformations with time. For the solution of the problem of creep as thus formulated, a mechanical theory of creep is required. Such theory must necessarily bear an external, overall character based, not on the investigation of microprocesses, but on the results of mechanical tests.
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