Residual Stresses: Their Causes, and the Effective Meansof Treatment to Reduce the Residual Stresses and toImprove the Fatigue Life in Engineering Components
By J.S Hornsey of
Vibratory Stress Relieving (Africa) cc.
B.Sc, S.A.I.W, SAIMech.Eng, CGLI (Dist. weld), CGLI (Mech. Eng), CGLI (Dist. Metallurgy
Residual stresses are stresses that remain in a component after any external loading or forces are removed.Residual stresses can be viewed as a form of potential energy, and the stress relieving, whether by thermal, peening, vibratory,long term storage (aging), or even by unintentional “bumpy” transport, act as a means of release of this potential energy. It has been observed for many years that a workpiece that has been final machined can often change shape during transport, outsideof the final workpiece tolerances.Residual stresses in metal structures occur for many reasons during the manufacturing processes such as hot and cold working,rolling, bending, forging, casting machining operations and the various welding processes.In welding, residual stresses result from thermal strains during heating and cooling cycles of the weld metal and the adjacentheat affected zones (HAZ).They occur in all weldment zones and at microscopic levels they develop due to the restraint of thermal expansion andcontraction and with volumetric changes associated with phase transformation. Since residual stresses can affect structural behavior, it is important to be able to predict and model the residual stresses under different scenarios. The modeling of residual stresses is not an easy task as there are many different and often complex variables involved:
Material thicknesses and mass.
Design and manufacturing process.Residual stresses can be classified into two different groups in accordance with the mechanism that produces them:
Residual stresses produced by poor joint alignment and structural mismatch.
Residual stresses produced by an uneven distribution of non-elastic strains of both mechanical and thermal strains.The above are all possible with all welding processes. Residual stresses can also be produced when materials of varying lengthsare forcibly connected (structural mismatch). Figure 1 shows a schematic diagram (
courtesy ASM Handbook Vol. 6, 1983
) of athree bar frame which can be used to explain the residual stresses that are caused by a structural mismatch.
Figure 1. Schematic diagram of a three bar frame (a) stress free state and (b) in its stressed state