Accurate characterization of residual stress in engineering components is important in structural integrity assessment. Two commonly used methods of measuring residual stress include the neutron diffraction technique and the deep-hole drilling (DHD) technique. The former is a well-known nondestructive measurement method and the latter is a semi-invasive technique which is readily available and portable. Both these measurement techniques depend on a number of physical quantities and are therefore sensitive to errors associated with the measured data. The resulting stress uncertainties can easily become significant and compromise the usefulness of the results or lead to misinterpretation of the behaviour of stress distribution. This paper describes briefly the error analysis for both techniques. Results from earlier neutron diffraction and deep hole drilling measurements are used to illustrate the errors. It is found that the average error for both techniques is about ±20MPa. In the case of the neutron diffraction method this error is acceptable for path lengths less than a few centimetres. At greater path lengths the errors become unacceptably large. In contrast the error in the DHD is independent of depth.

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