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Innovative methodology for measuring residual stress in engine blocks

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Residual stress within metal components represents, in the majority of the cases, a source of a large amount of scrap and losses for the metalworking industry. Although there are methods of measuring residual stresses, the complexity of geometric shapes in several products makes it a difficult task. Current research work developed a new methodology for measuring residual stresses in areas of complex geometry, as is the case of engine blocks in the automotive industry. The strain gauge measurement technique (SMT) is used here to validate the proposed methodology since, for many years, the SMT has gained high confidence in the automotive industry for the case of measurements of residual stress in metallic products. The new methodology involves: firstly, a pair of indentation marks performed at the section of study and secondly, a cutting process which is carried out to relieve stress in the section. Replica samples were taken from both samples in every experiment to measure the distance between indentation marks. Difference between both measurements (the sample before and after the stress relief) gives us a measure of the change in deformation which is related with the residual stress by Hooke’s law (σ = F/A = Eε = E[∆ε/(ε0)]), where ε0 is the initial spacing and Δε is the change in the spacing between indentation marks. The implementation of the replica sample allows the transfer of the distance between indentation marks by means of portable samples, which can be carried to the laboratory where an optical microscope is used together with an image analyzer to obtain accurate measurements in laboratories with a resolution of ± 2 μm. Residual stress values by the new technique were then calculated to compare with those values obtained by the strain gauge technique. Findings confirm the effectiveness of the current methodology for measuring residual stresses in complex areas and suggested a great opportunity in which residual stress measurements have not been able to obtain using any other technique.

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The authors of this work recognize the support of the Research and Development (R&D) department from Nemak Company, to the Center for Research and Innovation in Aeronautical Engineering (CIIIA) of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, and to the CONACyT for the economical support in the development of this research.

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Correspondence to J. Hernández-Sandoval.

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Aguilar-Navarro, J.A., González-López, J.R., Hernández-Sandoval, J. et al. Innovative methodology for measuring residual stress in engine blocks. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 106, 3649–3658 (2020).

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  • Residual stress
  • Aluminum
  • Metallic products
  • Automotive industry
  • Residual stress measurement