In the introductory paper of this symposium, Lazan categorizes the possible approaches to the rheological behavior of materials as micromechanistic, macroanalytical, and ad hoc testing. The present paper considers the first two of these three approaches, with reference to the behavior of metals. Particular emphasis is placed on the micromechanistic approach, for although the phenomenological approach has both current value and future potential for engineering purposes, it has become increasingly clear that the processes involved in the inelastic flow of materials are both numerous and complex, and that ultimate understanding will only be achieved as an understanding of the micromechanisms is gained. At the same time it must be recognized that in spite of the long history of experimental and theoretical study, it is only in recent years that much of an insight has been gained into the micromechanisms of the flow of metals and only for the simpler situations—for example, in relatively pure metals. Consequently, for the present, and in fact probably for a long time into the future, the engineer will need to rely on phenomenological correlations.
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