Optimal design of structures, or rather just of simple structural elements working under creep conditions, belongs to the most recent branches of structural optimization: It was initiated by four papers published in the years 1967–1968 (Reitman, Prager, Nemirovsky, and Z˙yczkowski). The most important differences with respect to elastic or plastic design are as follows: factor of time appearing in the constraints, a great variety of constitutive equations of creep or viscoplasticity, of creep rupture hypotheses, creep buckling theories, various definitions of creep stiffness, etc. Moreover, the constraints related to stress–relaxation are quite new. So, it is almost impossible to establish a sufficiently general theory and various types of problems must be treated separately by appropriate methods. On the other hand, the problems of optimization under creep conditions are important in view of metal structures working at elevated temperatures, structures made of plastics, concrete, etc. The paper gives classification of problems and then a review of results obtained for bars, columns, arches, trusses, frames, plates, and shells. Over 30% of those results were obtained at the Technical University of Cracow. This paper discusses specific features of the branch of optimal structural design under consideration as well as perspectives of future research.

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