The true stress-strain curves of polycrystalline aluminum, copper, and stainless steel are shown to be adequately represented by an exponential approach to a saturation stress over a significant range. This empirical law, which was first proposed by Voce, is expanded to describe the temperature and strain-rate dependence, and is put on a physical foundation in the framework of dislocation storage and dynamic recovery rates. The formalism can be applied to the steady-state limit of creep in the same range of temperatures and strain rates; the stress exponent of the creep rate must, as a consequence, be strongly temperature dependent, the activation energy weakly stress dependent. Near half the melting temperature, where available work-hardening data and available creep data overlap, they match. Extrapolation of the proposed law to higher temperatures suggests that no new mechanisms may be necessary to describe high-temperature creep. A new differential equation for transient creep also follows from the empirical work-hardening law.

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