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This article provides the theoretical background for understanding many of the physical processes relevant to mechanical testing methods, experimental results, and analytical approaches described in this volume.

Creep deformation is normally studied by applying either a constant load or a constant true stress to a material at a sufficiently high homologous temperature so that a measurable amount of creep strain occurs in a reasonable time. This article provides the phenomenological descriptions of creep and explains the testing and mechanism of creep in crystalline solids. It also presents information on the creep response of crystalline and amorphous solids.

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