Tests of creep under axial load and torque have been made using tubular specimens of extremely small wall thickness (0.7 mm) in order to achieve sufficiently rapid moisture exchange with the environment. The changes of relative humidity and temperature in a program-controlled environmental chamber have been gradual, so as to minimize the differences in pore humidity throughout the specimen wall and the accompanying residual stresses and microcracking. A number of different humidity and temperature histories, including the drying before and during the creep test, and the humidity changes during the creep test and during the recovery, have been tested. The measurements have revealed a decline of the slope of creep curve in log-time after a sufficiently long drying period; acceleration of creep as well as recovery by both drying and wetting; a smaller and more delayed acceleration at lower humidities; a delay of this acceleration with respect to the weight loss; a similarity of these effects in axial and torsional creep; a higher recovery as well as creep at higher humidities when moisture equilibrium has been approached before loading; a higher creep acceleration by temperature increases or decreases when the humidity is below saturation, but a smaller acceleration at nearly dry state; and other effects.
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