Research course

Residual stress

Open University · Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

The OU Materials Engineering Group is internationally renowned for its work on the development and application of novel techniques for the measurement and analysis of residual stress. In addition to on-site equipment for residual stress analysis using X-ray diffraction, incremental hole drilling, and the contour method, we are intensive users of international neutron and synchrotron X-ray facilities.

The group hosts around 16 full-time and 5 part-time research students, many of whom have a focus on residual stresses and their effect on the performance of engineering structures. Support is provided by academic, technical and research staff. Virtually all our projects are undertaken in partnership with industrial collaborators, and our projects provide excellent training in a range of experimental and analytical skills.

Current/recent research projects

  • Residual stress measurement in welded pipes for power plant applications
  • Development and optimisation of cutting, measurement, and analysis methods for the novel contour method of residual stress measurement
  • Residual stress measurement in aerospace components and assemblies
  • Combined neutron imaging and diffraction: instrumentation and experimentation
  • Development of a robotic positioning and tracking system for research laboratory

Potential supervisors

Department specialisms

- Residual stresses in next generation nuclear power plant (available through the ICO Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Power) - Advances in the contour method of residual stress measurement - Development and application of novel methods of residual stress measurement - Residual stress relaxation during post weld heat treatment of welded structures.

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
variable months
full time
36 months
part time
72 months


full time
15 months
part time
24 months
distance learning
variable months

Course contact details

John Bouchard, Professor of Materials for Energy
+44 (0)1908 655799