Preventing Fatigue Failures with Laser Peening

Originally published in Amptiac Quarterly, Volume 7 Number 2, 2003

Authored by Richard D. Tenaglia David F. Lahrman LSP Technologies, Inc. & David W. See AFRL/MLMP?

Laser peening is an innovative surface enhancement processed to increase the resistance of aircraft gas turbine engine compressor and fan blades to foreign object damage (FOD) and improve high cycle fatigue (HCF) life. [1,2,3,4] The process creates residual compressive stresses deep into part surfaces Рtypically five to ten times deeper than conventional metal shot peening. These comprehensive surface stresses inhibit the initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks. Laser peening has been particularly effective in aircraft engine titanium alloy fan and compressor blades, however the potential application of this process is much broader, encompassing automotive parts, orthopedic implants, tooling and dies, and more. Significant progress has been made to lower the cost and increase the throughput of the process, making it affordable for numerous applications from gas turbine engines to aircraft structures, land vehicles, weapon systems, as well as general industrial use. Laser peening may also be referred to as laser shock processing (LSP), and various other commercial trade names. This paper reviews the status of laser peening technology, material property enhancements, and potential applications.

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