Residual stresses within welded components can redistribute when exposed to high temperatures and large levels of loading. The ageing process for a specimen attempts to replicate the temperature regime experienced during typical service use of the component, redistributing stresses from the as-welded condition to post-ageing. The aim of this investigation was to study the effects of ageing on weld residual stress redistribution and to evaluate the changes in the residual stress profiles before and after the pipe had been aged.

In this investigation the through thickness residual stresses within a narrow gap girth TIG welded stainless steel 316L pipe were measured. The ageing of the pipe specimen involved heating to 400°C for 3000 hours. To measure residual stress the incremental Deep-Hole Drilling (iDHD) method was employed; two measurements were taken, once before and after ageing.

Analysis of the measured pre and post-ageing residual stresses showed a consistent reduction in the magnitude of approximately 50 MPa, corresponding to the change in the yield stress of the material at room and elevated (400°C) temperatures; the maximum residual stress, of 450 MPa, was measured at 4 mm from the external surface of the pipe.

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