A formal procedure is outlined for establishing a priori functional relationships between the probability-of-success measure of reliability and dimensionless parameter combinations of the pertinent system variables. The latter include the criteria for failure, the expected load and environmental conditions, the statistical distributions in values of the material properties, and the explicit and implicit times. This procedure is illustrated by application to the case of structural element creep assuming a bimodal failure criterion, either exceeding a given critical strain level or rupture. The implications of this analysis in regard to indicating the directions of future research in materials science pertinent to mechanical reliability are briefly discussed.

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