LASER PEENING FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Laser peening provides superior fatigue enhancement, imparting compressive residual stresses to greater depths than anything achieved via shot peening. Laser peening has been proven to extend component service lifetimes up to TEN TIMES longer than parts that had previously only been shot peened. Laser peening generates a stronger shock wave at the part surface, and the benefits of laser peening remain stable at higher temperatures.

Laser peening is a more targeted and controlled process than shot peening. Whereas shot peening may be applied over the entire surface of a part, laser peening is only applied to critical, fatigue-prone areas. Laser peening generates tailored compressive residual stress fields that can be reliably modeled and controlled through the selection of laser peening parameters.

There are many important reasons why laser peening may be the optimal solution for your application:

  • Residual stress depth: Laser peening typically imparts residual stresses ten to twenty times deeper than shot peening, resulting in superior crack inhibition and fatigue resistance, and can reach as deep as 12mm.
  • Targeted application: Laser peening is only applied to critical, fatigue-prone areas, enhancing components where they need it most.
  • High process control: Laser peening is a computer-controlled process using integrated robotics to manipulate parts during processing. Laser peening parameters like power density and pulse width can be optimized for tailored compressive residual stress profiles.
  • Precision modeling: The compressive residual stresses imparted by laser peening can be reliably modeled prior to part processing using Finite Element Analysis (FEA).
  • Thermal stability: Laser peening imparts a lower percentage of cold work than shot peening, allowing laser peened parts to retain beneficial compressive residual stresses at high temperatures.
  • Complex geometries: Even from different incident angles, the stress wave generated by laser peening always propagates perpendicular to the part surface. This enables maximum compressive residual stress depth, even when applied to recessed areas like notches or grooves.

Laser peening can be applied to almost any metal component.

Laser peening is a metal enhancement process that imparts superior reliability and performance into metal parts. Laser peening improves fatigue life and damage tolerance by inhibiting crack initiation and propagation, while increasing material resistance to common metal failure modes.

Laser peening is a mechanical surface enhancement process that uses a high-energy pulsed laser to generate a high-amplitude stress wave at the surface of a part. The stress wave propagates into the material, inducing compressive residual stresses that inhibit the propagation of fatigue cracks.

The benefits of laser peening depend on processing conditions, material, and part geometry. Thick sections can see a 100% increase in fatigue strength compared to parts that have only been shot peened, while enhancements in thin sections can be much higher. Across a variety of applications and case studies, fatigue life of laser peened parts (measured in number of cycles to failure) has proven to be orders of magnitude greater than untreated or shot peened parts.

LSP Technologies' extensive laser peening experience has returned improvements in:

  • Titanium alloys
  • Steel alloys
  • Stainless steels
  • Nickel alloys
  • Aluminum alloys
  • Carburized and nitrided steels

Laser peening can be applied to almost any metal component.

The time to process a part depends on the number of pulses required to cover the area to be treated. This may range from a few seconds to a few hours depending upon the complexity of the part and the size of the treatment area.

LSPT has pioneered several innovations to increase the throughput of industrial laser peening, including:

  • RapidCoaterTM Overlay Technology - Enables automated application of process overlays.
  • Diode-pumped laser systems - Enables processing with high repetition rates (up to 20 pulses per second).

Laser peening is routinely applied to turbine engine blades for commercial and military engine components, as well for turbines used in electrical power generation. The process has been employed for years by major aerospace OEMs such as Rolls Royce on its Trent series engines, and GE Aviation to improve turbine engine blade resistance to foreign object damage (FOD), fretting fatigue, and cracking.

Laser peening is also applied to components used in the automotive, medical, tooling, and nuclear power industries, and has broader applications anywhere components fail to meet the demands of their operating environment.

Laser peening rarely requires complete surface processing. Parts are treated cost-effectively and efficiently by laser peening specific areas prone to cracking or failure.

Laser peening does not appreciably alter the part surface finish. Laser peening is a mechanical hardening process (not a thermal one) and the opaque overlay prevents surface melting and other heat effects. The treated surface may develop a slight wavy appearance from the pulsed laser spots, although the depressions are typically only a few microns deep. Any visible indications of laser peening can be removed post processing without affecting the compressive residual surface stresses.

Laser peening prevents component failures that can compromise equipment, operations, and safety. The expense of laser peening is usually offset many times over by service life extensions, reduced maintenance and inspection costs, and improved part performance.

By incorporating laser peening into new designs, it is possible to reach higher efficiencies, reduce weight, and mitigate stress concentrations, all of which can save significant costs over the life of the part.

Yes, laser peening can be applied to fielded parts to extend their operational service life. Laser peening around existing cracks inhibits further propagation, and can return the fatigue tolerance of damaged parts to like-new condition.

Yes, laser peening can be combined with other processes like heat treating, anodizing, and isotropic coating. The key is identifying what point in the manufacturing process to apply laser peening to optimize the surface hardness and finish. Laser peening can even be combined with shot peening treatments to apply targeted enhancement to critical areas on a part.

Yes, laser peening can be used to form and shape parts to specific geometric configurations. Laser peen forming harnesses the use of controlled plastic strain to shape materials, while simultaneously imparting compressive residual stresses for improved fatigue strength.

LSPT's newest design, the Procudo® 200 Laser Peening System, is a diode-pumped YLF laser delivering an average power of 200 Watts. The Procudo® System operates in the infrared at a wavelength of 1053 nm, and features selectable energy levels up to 10 Joules. The Procudo® System is engineered for speed and flexibility, offering selectable pulse widths between 8-16 nanoseconds, and repetition rates up to 20 Hz.

Yes, LSP Technologies, Inc. has an extensive portfolio of patents relating to laser peening equipment and processing. This patent portfolio is available for license with any purchase of a Procudo® 200 Laser Peening System.

Yes, LSPT is the only company in the world selling turn-key laser peening systems. We offer fully integrated facilities with automated part-handling robots and real-time diagnostic controls. LSPT can provide everything you need for production laser peening, including customizable peening cells to achieve component requirements for any industry or shop.

Yes, LSPT scientists and engineers have published numerous peer-reviewed articles about the laser peening process. Check out our library of research to access scholarly papers and articles for free.

LSPT was founded in 1995 as the world's first commercial laser peening company. Owned and operated by some of the industry's leading pioneers, LSPT built the first production laser peening systems in operation, and has been issued over 50 patents for innovations in laser peening equipment and technology. LSPT provides laser peening production services at its AS9100 certified facility, and is the only company in the world selling fully-integrated laser peening systems.

Yes, LSP Technologies is always available for application development and production processing. We have a team of trained, experienced technicians, along with in-house laser peening systems at our AS9100 certified facility. Contact us today.

LSPT is growing rapidly to accommodate the increasing market demand for superior metal enhancement. We will soon have laser peening facilities on three continents, and we are constantly working on new innovations to improve and refine our process. Check out our recent press releases to stay up to date on the latest news.

Laser peening is the ultimate fatigue enhancement solution. Contact us to learn more about laser peening your parts.

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