About this book
One of the principal objects of theoretical research in any department of knowledge is to find the point of view from which the subject appears in its greatest simplicity. J. Willard Gibbs This book is an outgrowth of lectures I have given, on and off over some sixteen years, in graduate courses at the California Institute of Technology, and, in abbreviated form, elsewhere. It is, nevertheless, not meant to be a textbook. I have aimed at a full exposition of the phenomenological theory of linear viscoelastic behavior for the use of the practicing scientist or engineer as well as the academic teacher or student. The book is thus primarily a reference work. In accord with the motto above, I have chosen to describe the theory of linear viscoelastic behavior through the use of the Laplace transformation. The treatment oflinear time-dependent systems in terms of the Laplace transforms of the relations between the excitation add response variables has by now become commonplace in other fields. With some notable exceptions, it has not been widely used in viscoelasticity. I hope that the reader will find this approach useful.
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