Stories|Non-destructive determination of residual stresses in metals – using synchrotron and neutron-based technologies

Non-destructive determination of residual stresses in metals – using synchrotron and neutron-based technologies

New materials and analysis

New industry standards for measuring the residual stresses in metals

Residual stresses in components pose a major challenge in the metalworking industry, because they can have a massive impact on further processing and the service life of the parts. Materials scientists and engineers can draw on a variety of methods for measuring residual stresses in the laboratory. However, these are limited to destructive methods (e.g. drilling or contour method) or else can only penetrate the material to the depth of a few micrometres (X-ray diffraction). Modern accelerator technologies, on the other hand, offer non-destructive methods such as synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction or neutron diffraction, which can penetrate deep inside samples of materials. This means residual stresses can also be determined in complex, application-related specimens, saving costs and effort when processing metallic materials.

Residual stresses are an important issue in almost all industries that process and use metals – for example in the transport and energy sectors. Whether during casting, forging, forming or additive manufacturing, residual stresses always occur when metals are processed. It is therefore essential to determine residual stresses in the starting material and in the end product, so as to be able to predict how they will behave under load, for example. Whether manufacturing vehicles or aircraft, engines, tools, components for wind turbines or other sophisticated metal parts – new, faster and more efficient methods of assessing the quality of the material are highly welcome in order to speed up processing and production, thereby also reducing the time to get the product to market.

In the European Union project EASI-STRESS, Hereon is working with a range of partners in industry and science to use the research centre’s accelerator facilities with their special technologies for such purposes. Together, the participants are refining synchrotron, X-ray and neutron diffraction methods for characterising the residual stress in materials non-destructively. The partners involved in the project are developing new software and measurement protocols that will be used at various European synchrotrons and research neutron sources. A new European measurement standard is to be established for these methods. Ultimately, this will also benefit the reliable quality of the end products and therefore society as a whole.

The EASI-STRESS project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement 953219

Partners involved

  • Hereon
  • various partners (EU project)
Added Values

More information

Further information about the technology and methodology?


Dr. Marc Thiry

Industrial Relations Officer