Hole Drilling

The technique is a mechanical measurement method used to determine principal residual stresses incrementally with depth.

Our method can be used on metals, ceramics, and polymers, where linear elastic theory can be assumed. Materials that can’t be tested by X-ray diffraction, such as coarse grain or amorphous materials, can be tested with the hole-drill method.

How does it work?

Our method is based on linear elastic theory that involves machining a small hole into the center of a specific strain gage attached to the test part. The change in strain resulting from relieving the stressed material is recorded at various hole depths.


Hole drilling is conducted at Lambda per the ASTM E837 specification. Other features of the hole-drill method include:

  • Can measure residual stresses up to approximately 80% of the yield of the material
  • Typically requires less material to be removed from the test part compared to other mechanical methods
  • Measures residual stresses in all directions in the plane of the part surface
  • Maximum measurement depth of 0.08 in. (2 mm)


    How are Lambda’s hole-drill services superior?

    Lambda is a recognized leader in the field of residual stress measurement, with extensive experience testing all types of materials, including metallics, ceramics, and polymers of nearly any shape and size.

    • We can test components in our laboratory or in the field
    • All residual stress measurements are performed by our certified residual stress engineers and technicians
    • Lambda does not subcontract residual stress testing to a third party

    Questions about hole-drilling or other residual stress measurement needs?

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