National Physical Laboratory

Residual Stress

Bridge The lifetime of a structural component is usually determined by the interactions between the defects within the component and the stresses to which it is exposed. These stresses are a combination of those applied in service and those which develop during manufacture and processing, namely the residual stresses. These may be beneficial and/or detrimental to the service performance. For example, they may be deliberately introduced (e.g. by shot peening) to improve fatigue performance. Whilst applied stresses can be accounted for in the design of a component, it is more difficult with residual stresses because they are difficult to predict and measure reliably.

With the continuing drive to optimise material performance and minimise component weight, there is an increasing emphasis on understanding the role of residual stress. There is a need for both improved measurement techniques and greater confidence in the results of existing methods. The latest DTI supported programme of research on materials measurement technology aims to go some way towards meeting both of these goals.

For more information: Tony Fry

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