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Rheology is the study of the deformation and flow of matter under the influence of an applied stress. The term was coined by Eugene Bingham, a professor at Lehigh University, in 1920, from a suggestion by a colleague, Markus Reiner. The term was inspired by Heraclitus's famous expression panta rei, 'everything flows'. Rheology unites the seemingly unrelated fields of plasticity and non-Newtonian fluids by recognising that both these types of materials are unable to support a shear stress in static equilibrium. In this sense, a plastic solid is a fluid. Granular rheology refers to the continuum mechanical description of granular materials. One of the tasks of rheology is to empirically establish the relationships between deformations and stresses, respectively their derivatives by adequate measurements. These experimental techniques are known as rheometry. Such relationships are then amenable to mathematical treatment by the established methods of continuum mechanics. Rheology has important applications in engineering, geophysics and physiology. In particular, hemorheology, the study of blood flow, has an enormous medical significance. In geology, solid Earth materials that exhibit viscous flow over long time scales are known as rheids. In engineering, rheology has had its predominant application in the development and use of polymeric materials (plasticity theory has been similarly important for the design of metal forming processes, but in the engineering community is often not considered a part of rheology).

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