Final stretch criterion of failure is applied to the problem of quasi-static extension of a crack embedded in an elastic-plastic or viscoelastic-plastic matrix. The slow growth under subcritical conditions in a rate-sensitive Tresca solid is shown to be a superposition of creep rupture and McClintock’s ductile growth. This type of growth occurs at subcritical magnitude of the imposed K-factor and can be accounted for only through a recognition of inelastic properties of solids. In the subcritical range there is no unique value for Ko independent of geometrical configuration and flaw size. Not only the produced states of stress and strain are dependent on the loading path, but also the material resistance to fracture turns out to be a function of the history of loading that precedes catastrophic failure. A nonlinear integro-differential equation of motion is derived for a crack progressing through a viscoelastic medium with some limited ability to plastic flow. Examples of numerical integration are given incorporating both monotonic and cyclic loading programs.

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