Thermoelastic Stress Analysis (TSA) has been proposed as a method of obtaining residual stresses. The results of a preliminary study demonstrated that when Al-2024 plate containing holes that were plastically deformed by cold expansion process to 2% and 4% strain the thermoelastic response in the material around the hole was different to that obtained from a plate that had not experienced any plastic cold expansion (i.e. a reference specimen). This observation provides an opportunity for obtaining residual stresses based on TSA data. In many applications a reference specimen (i.e. residual stress free specimen) may not be available for comparison, so a synthetic, digital bitmap has been proposed as an alternative. An elastic finite element model is created using commercially available software Abaqus/Standard and the resultant stress field is extracted. The simulated stress field from the model is mapped onto a grid that matches the TSA pixel data from a physical reference specimen. This stress field is then converted to a Δ<i>T/T</i> field that can be compared to the full-field TSA data. When the reference experimental data is subtracted from the, bitmap dataset the resultant Δ<i>T/T</i> field is approximately zero. Further work proposes replacing the experimental reference data with that from specimens that have undergone cold expansion with the aim of revealing the regions affected by residual stress through a departure from zero in the resultant stress field. The paper demonstrates the first steps necessary for deriving the residual stresses from a general specimen using TSA.