A methodology for estimating the stress field in the matrix surrounding a semi-constrained inclusion is proposed. The stress free misfit volume associated with the inclusion was partitioned into semi-constrained and constrained components. The objective was achieved by carrying out a series of sectioning, cutting and imposition of constrained misfit displacement on an imaginary notch of geometry identical to that of the inclusion-matrix contour. The stress field was computed using elastic finite element analysis for plane stress condition. The misfit displacement model thus developed was applied to compute the stress field around a hydride blister grown under controlled thermal boundary condition in Zr-2.5 Nb pressure tube (PT) alloy and was validated by interpreting the hydride platelet orientation in the matrix surrounding the blister. Finally, an assessment of the structural integrity of the Zr-2.5Nb PT material containing hydride blister was made in view of this analysis. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.