X-ray diffraction has been applied to the measurement of residual stresses in mechanical and structural components for decades. It has been applied non-destructively in the laboratory on small and large components as well as in the field on very large components and structures. The technique is well suited to a wide variety of applications. Some examples include: process development and evaluation (including machining, heat treatment, welding and assembly), quality control, screening of non-conforming components and verifying the health of components during service at different intervals and at the end of life. Both residual stress levels and the associated work-hardening generated can be characterized using the shift and the broadening of the x-ray diffraction peak respectively. Since x-ray diffraction uses the atomic lattice spacing (d-spacing) as a strain gage it is thus only applicable to crystalline materials. In this paper, examples of x-ray diffraction applications on different materials subjected to various processes are illustrated. The effect of residual stresses on the fatigue lifetime of components is also considered.

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