This paper discusses recent developments in creep, over a wide range of temperature, that may change our understanding of creep. The five-power law creep exponent (3.5–7) has never been explained in fundamental terms. The best the scientific community has done is to develop a natural three power-law creep equation that falls short of rationalizing the higher stress exponents that are typically five. This inability has persisted for many decades. Computational work examining the stress-dependence of the climb rate of edge dislocations may rationalize the phenomenological creep equations. Harper–Dorn creep, “discovered” over 60 years ago, has been immersed in controversy. Some investigators have insisted that a stress exponent of one is reasonable. Others believe that the observation of a stress exponent of one is a consequence of dislocation network frustration. Others believe the stress exponent is artificial due to the inclusion of restoration mechanisms, such as dynamic recrystallization or grain growth that is not of any consequence in the five power-law regime. Also, the experiments in the Harper–Dorn regime, which accumulate strain very slowly (sometimes over a year), may not have attained a true steady state. New theories suggest that the absence or presence of Harper–Dorn may be a consequence of the initial dislocation density. Novel experimental work suggests that power-law breakdown may be a consequence of a supersaturation of vacancies which increase self-diffusion.
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