A long-term UK research programme on residual stresses was launched in 2004. It involves Rolls-Royce plc and Serco Assurance, supported by UK industry and academia. The programme is aimed at progressing the understanding of weld residual stresses and the implementation of finite element simulation and residual stress measurement for assessing the integrity of engineering structures. Following on from this, the intention is then to develop improved guidance on residual stress modelling techniques and then to provide methods and analysis tools for design in order to control and minimise residual stress. The focus of the work to date has been to develop modelling guidelines which can be used by a finite element analyst to predict the residual stresses in austenitic welded components. These guidelines are now drafted and will be incorporated into the next issue of the British Energy R6 defect assessment procedure following peer review. The guidelines have been developed based on the experience that has been attained using various modelling techniques. To support this development, a series of welded mock-ups have been manufactured. The residual stresses in these welds have been measured using various techniques (diffraction and strain relaxation). These measurements are being used to validate the predicted stresses. It is only by corroborating each other that the resulting residual stresses can be confidently used for assessment. Mock-ups are also being used to develop material models for ferritic steel which undergo phase transformations, and to investigate how various weld parameters affect the magnitude and distribution of residual stress. Similarly, mock-ups have been manufactured to investigate the effect of start-stops on residual stresses. The programme is also supported by experimental testing to develop physical and mechanical properties which are required for analysis, i.e. up to melting temperature. Both conventional and miniaturised testing has been used to measure properties in ferritic and austenitic steels. A task has also been undertaken to develop a methodology for providing upper bound residual stress profiles which can be used as an initial estimate of stress for use in structural assessment.

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