Around the start of the 1990s, the use of laser peening had become increasingly popular with manufactures of products and components that were vulnerable to surface and foreign object damage.
Since this time, laser peening (or LSP) technology has seen developments that have resulted in decreased costs as well as increased throughput.
Laser Peening is a surface engineering process that places deep residual compressive stress into key areas of a component. This process increases the resistance of materials to surface-related failures.
Laser peening can also be used to strengthen thin sections of a component or harden a surface as well breaking up hard materials.
The laser peen or laser shock peening process does not utilise the thermal effects of a laser, instead it uses the dynamic mechanical effects of a shockwave that is imparted by a laser to modify the surface layer of a target material.
Laser peening is being used to prolong the fatigue life of critical aerospace components such as turbine engines and aircraft structures as well as for wing skins to achieve the requirements of the new generation of intercontinental aircraft.
Other potential applications of LSP forming have also emerged for the automotive, power generation, nuclear waste disposal, drilling, medical implants and recreational sports.
The process of laser peening means that component materials have a deeper residual compressive stress which enables an increased resistance to low cycle, high stress situations (LCF) as well as high cycle, low stress situations (HCF) in a deteriorating surface environment. LSP also helps to combat material erosion, strike damage, fretting and corrosion.
In addition, the laser peen process allows for less cold work enabling greater retention of residual compressive stress in high load and/ or thermally challenging conditions.
What’s more, there is no process contamination and original surface finish and topography is easily maintained and controlled through a high precision process and quality control.
Curtiss-Wright specialise in surface technologies and offer customer a single source solution and point of contact for all their controlled metal surface treatments, supporting their requirements through a global network of over 70 worldwide and on-site field teams.
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