Various materials display a time-dependent behavior which is the source of phenomena such as creep or relaxation. These processes typically take place quasistatically, i.e., so slow that inertia forces do not play any role. If a component made of such a material contains a crack and is loaded, time-dependent deformations occur especially in the vicinity of the crack tip due to the locally high stresses. This may cause a delay of crack initiation until some critical crack-tip deformation is attained. Creep of the material at the crack tip, however, may also lead directly to creep crack growth.
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