Cold expansion (CX) is a material processing technique that has been widely used in the aircraft industry to enhance fatigue life of structural components containing holes. CX introduces compressive hoop residual stresses that slow crack growth near the hole edge. The objective of this paper is to predict residual stresses arising from cold expansion using two different finite element (FE) approaches, and compare the results to measurement data obtained by the contour method. The paper considers single-hole, double-hole, and triple-hole configurations with three different edge margins. The first FE approach considers process modeling, and includes elastic–plastic behavior, while the second approach is based on the eigenstrain method, and includes only elastic behavior. The results obtained from the FE models are in good agreement with one another, and with measurement data, especially close to the holes, and with respect to the effect of edge margin on the residual stress distributions. The distribution of the residual stress and equivalent plastic strain around the holes is also explored, and the results are discussed in detail. The eigenstrain method was found to be very useful, providing generally accurate predictions of residual stress.

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