Nonlinear constitutive equations for varying stress histories are developed and used to predict the creep behavior of 304 stainless steel at 593°C (1100°F) under variable tension or torsion stresses including reloading, complete unloading, step-up, and step-down stress changes. The strain in the constitutive equations (a viscous-viscoelastic model) consists of: linear elastic, time-independent plastic, time-dependent-recoverable viscoelastic, and time-dependent-nonrecoverable viscous components. For variable stressing, the modified superposition principle, derived from the multiple integral representation, and the strain hardening theory were used to represent the recoverable and nonrecoverable components, respectively, of the time-dependent strain. Time-independent plastic strains were described by a flow rule of similar form to that for nonrecoverable, time-dependent strains. The material constants of the theory were determined from constant stress creep and creep recovery data. Considerable aging effects were found and the effects on the strain components were incorporated in each strain predicted by the theory. Some modifications of the theory for the viscoelastic strain component under step-down stress changes were made to improve the predictions. The final predictions combining the foregoing features made satisfactory agreements with the experimental creep data under step stress changes.

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