Deformation that occurs over a period of time when a material is subjected to constant stress at constant temperature. In metals, creep usually occurs only at elevated temperatures. Creep at room temperature is more common in plastic materials and is called cold flow or deformation under load. Data obtained in a creep test usually is presented as a plot of creep vs. time with stress and temperature constant. Slope of the curve is creep rate and end point of the curve is time for rupture. As indicated in the accompanying diagram, the creep of a material can be divided into three stages. First stage, or primary creep, starts at a rapid rate and slows with time. Second stage (secondary) creep has a relatively uniform rate. Third stage (tertiary) creep has an accelerating creep rate and terminates by failure of material at time for rupture.