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When a load is applied to a body, the body is deformed. For a particular body loaded in a particular environment the amount of the deformation depends upon the magnitude of the load, the rate at which it is applied, and the elapsed time after the load application that the observation is made. Different materials vary widely in their response to load. This response is known as rheological behavior. While instantaneous effects and time-dependent effects are not entirely separable, it is common to consider them separately as elastic properties (instantaneous) and creep (time-dependent).
Chief, Civil Works, Office of Chief Engineers, Washington, D.C.