Welding residual stresses have important consequences on the performance of engineering components. High residual stresses lead to loss of performance in corrosion, fatigue and fracture but as yet these consequences are poorly quantified. The major cause of this is that residual stress often remains the single largest unknown in industrial damage situations since they are difficult to measure or estimate theoretically. One of the key issues in the study of residual stress is that the detail of the stress distribution on a small scale (in the order of millimetres) can be important. In this paper, the neutron diffraction technique is used which while it is a very expensive technique, is capable of non-destructively measuring residual stresses at this scale up to a depth of 35mm. The investigation reported compares the residual stress characteristics due to various restraints for a single bead and in fully restrained samples with different numbers of beads. The findings have important consequences with respect to design of welding procedures and fitness for purpose assessments.

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