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Development and Application of the Contour Method to Determine the Residual Stresses in Thin Laser-Peened Aluminium Alloy Plates


The contour method was applied to obtain residual stress fields in a laser-peened 2.0-mm-thick Al2024-T351 sample. In order to remove the effects of near-surface wire electro-discharge machining (EDM) cutting artefacts on the measured residual stresses, sacrificial blocks were attached to both surfaces of the thin sample with a polymer-based glue doped with silver particles. A data analysis routine based on bivariate spline smoothing was conducted to obtain a 2D residual stress map. The results were compared with incremental hole drilling, and X-ray diffraction and layer removal techniques. The results are in good agreement in terms of the magnitudes and the location of the peak stresses, with the exception of the contour method results. Owing to the low thickness of the samples, the data analysis is very sensitive to the parameters used in the spline fitting, leading to fluctuation in the results. It is concluded that the contour method can be applied to thin samples, however, extra attention is required. Since the uncertainty is higher compared to the conventional contour method results, it is good practice to compare the results with at least one other experimental method.

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The authors would like to thank to Dr Domenico Furfari of Airbus Deutschland and Professor José Ocaña of Universidad Politecnica Madrid for the samples and laser peening. Special thanks to Professor Philip Withers and Mr Abdulsameea Jilabi of Manchester University for the surface contour measurements by laser profilometer. MEF is grateful for funding from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a charitable foundation helping to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research.

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Correspondence to M. B. Toparli.

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Toparli, M.B., Fitzpatrick, M.E. Development and Application of the Contour Method to Determine the Residual Stresses in Thin Laser-Peened Aluminium Alloy Plates. Exp Mech 56, 323–330 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11340-015-0100-7

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  • Contour method
  • X-ray diffraction
  • Incremental hole drilling
  • Laser peening
  • Thin samples