Laser Peening is a process in which a laser beam is pulsed upon a metal surface, producing a planar shockwave that travels through the workpiece and plastically deforms a layer of material. The depth of plastic deformation and resulting compressive residual stress are significantly deeper than possible with most other surface treatments.
Laser energy can be used to induce residual compressive stresses deep into a metal's surface layer. The Laser Peening process employs laser induced shocks to create a compressive residual stress over 0.040 inch (1 mm) deep with magnitudes comparable to shot peening. This provides a damage tolerant component more resistant to various forms of stress related failures.
Laser Peening typically provides 4x or more the depth of residual compressive stress obtained by shot peening. Deeper levels of compressive stress provide greater resistance to fatigue and corrosion failure.
This process was first developed in the 1970's, and has moved from a laboratory curiosity to an affordable process for industry. Metal Improvement Company's Laser Peening process was developed as a production process under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Metal Improvement Company.
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