Applications of Laser Peening to Titanium Alloys

Originally presented at the ASME/JSME 2004 Pressure Vessels and Piping Division Conference, July 25-29, 2004.

Authored by David W. Sokol, Allan H. Clauer, Ravi Ravindranath.

ABSTRACT
Laser peening has been a commercial surface enhancement process for over six years, and has been gradually expanding the number of applications being laser peened in production ever since. LSP Technologies has been a major developer of the process and new applications for laser peening. It has developed production laser peening systems and innovative laser peening technology to increase throughput and reduce cost. Some of these production and technology developments will be discussed in this paper. Also, an evaluation of applying laser peening to increase the fretting fatigue resistance of titanium alloys, based on Ti-6Al-4V has been made. Included in this evaluation is the use of small spot laser peening to enable the processing of the inside of small, generally inaccessible areas such as the insides of holes and slots. Laser peening with either large or small spots dramatically increased the fretting fatigue life under both R=0.5 and R=0 fatigue conditions with three different contact pad pressures. Fretting fatigue life was increased by at least 25 times. Actual increases in fatigue life and fatigue strength could not be determined because most specimens ran to the runout life of 106 cycles without failure. The laser peening does not appear to affect the fretting behavior, but instead inhibits the initiation of fatigue cracks at the fretting cracks developed from the fretting process. The compressive residual stress from laser peening also would slow the growth rate of any fatigue crack that does eventually initiate at a fretting crack.

INTRODUCTION
LSP Technologies has designed and built two production laser peening systems with the support of the Air Force Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. In 2003 it began production laser peening of an integrally bladed rotor for the F119 engine being built by Pratt & Whitney. To increase throughput and reduce the cost of the process, several technology improvements have also been developed and are being implemented into production. Among these is the RapidCoaterâ„¢ system, which allows continuous processing of a part. Under a NAVAIR Phase II SBIR, LSP Technologies has investigated the effect of laser peening on fretting and fretting fatigue in dovetail slots. An outcome of this program is a laser peening system that enables the interior of dovetail slots to be accessed by laser peening. Because of the dovetail geometry, small spots (<1 mm in diameter) and underwater laser peening were used to treat the interior of the slots.

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