The demand on load-carrying structural systems for increased operating temperatures in hostile environments has led to the development of new metallic alloys and non-metallic materials. Because of the intensity of operating conditions the materials are frequently subjected to severe loading and corrosive environments, and it is then only possible to design structural systems for finite life. To complete effective designs, it is necessary to understand the physical and mechanical properties of materials and how these properties are related to the performance of the system. The range of associated problems is discussed as well as some of the fundamental and computational questions which must be addressed in searching for improved and more economic performance.

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