Comparison between surface and near-surface residual stress measurement techniques using a standard four-point-bend specimen

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Background: Determination of near-surface residual stresses is challenging for the available measurement techniques due to their limitations. These are often either beyond reach or associated with significant uncertainties. Objective: This study describes a critical comparison between three methods of surface and near-surface residual stress measurements, including x-ray diffraction (XRD) and two incremental central hole-drilling techniques one based on strain-gauge rosette and the other based on electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI). Methods: These measurements were performed on standard four-point-bend beams of steel loaded to known nominal stresses, according to the ASTM standard. These were to evaluate the sensitivity of different techniques to the variation in the nominal stress, and their associated uncertainties. Results: The XRD data showed very good correlations with the surface nominal stress, and with superb repeatability and small uncertainties. The results of the ESPI based hole-drilling technique were also in a good agreement with the XRD data and the expected nominal stress. However, those obtained by the strain gauge rosette based hole-drilling technique were not matching well with the data obtained by the other techniques nor with the nominal stress. This was found to be due to the generation of extensive compressive residual stress during surface preparation for strain gauge installation. Conclusion: The ESPI method is proven to be the most suitable hole-drilling technique for measuring near-surface residual stresses within distances close to the surface that are beyond the penetration depth of x-ray and below the resolution of the strain gauge rosette based hole-drilling method.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Early online date7 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Oct 2021


  • residual stress
  • x-ray diffraction
  • incremental central hole drilling
  • electron speckle pattern interferometry


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