Acoustoelasticity has recently been used for the nondestructive evaluation of residual stresses. In making such measurements the assumption has been made that the plastic flow leading to the residual stress state did not change the acoustic response of the material. This paper examines the extent to which that assumption holds for three aluminum alloys. The acoustoelastic theory is summarized and results are presented for tests of specimens under uniaxial tension which are subjected to plastic deformation followed by complete unloading. It is shown that the assumption made does not hold for all materials and that further theoretical development is required for general quantitative residual stress determination.

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