The scatter of results in long time creep or rupture tests is such that the strongest sample can sustain a stress at least 50 percent higher than the weakest sample. A large part of this scatter is associated with metallurgical variations in steel. Starting with the assumption that a pure metal of given grain size has a clearly defined shape of creep curve at a given stress and temperature, it is shown that strain aging and precipitation phenomena complicate the shape of the creep curve. A number of examples of these phenomena are discussed showing the great importance of strain age hardening in relation to scatter.

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