Stress is something we all have to manage – particularly when it is related to the workplace. But, for engineers, it is more than their own stress levels that they have to contend with.
Locked into the materials, parts, and components is what is known as ‘residual stress’, and it is a major challenge to
the manufacturing sector as a whole.
Residual stress is a concept that has long been discussed in engineering, but is still a relatively nascent area of research. So, while many people within the industry will have heard of the concept, they may not know exactly what it means and, consequently, how to manage and mitigate it.
In the simplest terms, residual stress is the stress present in a part or component when no external mechanical, thermal, or chemical load is applied.
Throughout the course of the manufacturing process, materials will undergo various thermo-mechanical processes that generate residual stresses – from forging or forming and heat treatment to machining – and it is important to control residual stresses to not only address manufacturing challenges around distortion and cracking, but also improve the in-service performance of components.