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Modern engineering materials subjected to unfavorable mechanical and environmental conditions decrease in strength due to the accumulation of microstructural changes. For example, considering damage in metals we can mention creep damage, ductile plastic damage, embrittlement of steels and fatigue damage. To properly estimate the value of damage when designing reliable structures it is necessary to formulate the damage phenomenon in terms of mechanics. Then it is possible to analyse various engineering problems using analytical and computational techniques. During the last two decades the basic principles of continuum damage mechanics were formulated and some special problems were solved. Many scientific papers were published and several conferences on damage mechanics took place. Now continuum damage mechanics is rapidly developing branch of fracture mechanics. This book is probably the first one on the subject; it contains a sys tematic description of the basic aspects of damage mechanics and some of its applications. In general, a theoretical description of damage can be rather compli cated. The experiments in this field are difficult (especially under multiax ial stress and non-proportional loading). Therefore, experimental data, as a rule, are scarce. Determination of functions and constants, which play a role in the complex variants of the theory, from available experimental data is often practically impossible. ix L.M. Kachanov The problems of damage mechanics are mainly engineering ones. Therefore, the author tries to avoid superfluous mathematical formalism. Some more details of the book's subject can be found in the list of con tents.
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