Hill Engineering Blog

Residual stress definition

Residual stress definition – residual stress is defined as the stress that is present in a material in the absence of externally applied loading. Residual stresses often form during manufacturing and are typically an unintentional byproduct of a manufacturing process. As engineers we care about residual stresses because they affect material performance.

Because they are byproducts of manufacturing processes, these residual stresses can be found in a wide variety of common products – especially those made from metal. Frames on airplane bulkheads, cast automobile engine blocks, and the machined parts of your computer are all items that contain residual stresses. These residual stresses are not necessarily bad, however, as they can be manipulated to help improve the performance of the material.

Residual stresses are also found in nature, for example, residual stresses in trees help to give them their rigidity and residual stresses in human arteries help them to withstand the fluctuations in pressure as our hearts pump blood through our bodies.

If you’re interested in this residual stress definition, then you likely have some material performance issue that may be influenced by residual stress. At Hill Engineering we work with residual stress on a daily basis. We are often asked related questions including: 1) how do I measure residual stress 2) how does residual stress affect fatigue and fracture performance, and 3) are residual stresses causing the distortion of my parts during machining. If you fit into one, or more, of these categories you’ve come to the right place. There’s lots of great information on our website and please contact us for additional information.