Thermal Softening and Stress Relaxation in Copper
Copper and copper alloys are used extensively in structural applications in which they are subject to moderately elevated temperatures. At relatively low operating temperatures, these alloys can undergo thermal softening or stress relaxation, which can lead to service failures. This article is a collection of curves and tables that present data on thermal softening and stress-relaxation in copper and copper alloys. Thermal softening occurs over extended periods at temperatures lower than those inducing recrystallization in commercial heat treatments. Stress relaxation occurs because of the transformation of elastic strain in the material to plastic, or permanent strain.