First International Conference on Laser Peening

The first international conference on laser peening will be held in Houston-Texas, USA 15-17 December 2008.  It is an honor to have Dr. Allan Clauer of LSP Technologies, Inc. kicking off the conference with the first of two keynote presentations at 9:15 am on 15 December.  Dr. Clauer has been involved with laser peening from its inception in the early 1970s, back when it was called laser shock processing.

The conference was established by Dr. Omar Hatamleh of NASA-Johnson Space Center.  Dr. Hatamleh is the Conference Chairman.

Topics will include:

  • Laser peening effects on residual stress distribution
  • Modeling of residual stresses from laser peening
  • Laser peening effects on fatigue life, and crack growth rates in base and welded components
  • Laser peening effects on microstructure, mechanical properties, and surface roughness
  • General aspects of laser peening – process parameters, potential applications, commercialization
  • Additional topics within the field of laser peening are welcome

Contributions will be made by attendees from around the world, including presentations by Dr. Todd Rockstroh (General Electric Aviation – USA) on “Laser Shock Processing of Aircraft Engine Components”, Dr. Brent Dane (Metal Improvement Company) on “Recent Developments in Large Scale Industrial Laser Peening”, Dr. Yuji Sano (Toshiba-Japan) on Development and Applications of Laser Peening Systems for Field Operations”, Mr. Brad Cowles (Pratt & Whitney-USA) on “Applications, Benefits, and Challenges of Advanced Surface Treatments”, and Dr. Takafumi Adachi (Fuji Heavy Industry-Japan) on “Effects of Laser Peening on Fatigue Properties for Aerospace Aluminum Alloys”.

Laser technology expected to produce major savings, reduced maintenance for commercial aircraft parts

Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) posted the following press release on there website tauting the benefits of laser peening technology, LLNL’s relationship with Metal Improvement Company (MIC), and MIC’s work with Rolls-Royce PLC.

“There’s more life in store for critical components for commercial aircraft.

That’s the result of an advanced laser peening technology developed by researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a New Jersey firm.

The payoff is already proving to be huge: turbine engine parts that last longer, reduced maintenance costs, and annual savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The breakthrough that provides these benefits is a powerful LLNL laser and shock-generation technology used by Metal Improvement Co. Inc. of Paramus, N.J., to treat the surface of metal parts.

“This is 21st century technology that will enable engineers to design aircraft parts that are safer, lighter, perform better and are more economical,” said Lloyd Hackel, leader of LLNL’s Laser Science and Technology Program and initial developer of laser peening at LLNL.

During the past 21 months, Rolls-Royce plc has used Metal Improvement to laser peen critical fan blade components installed in over 250 Rolls-Royce Trent 800/Trent 500 engines.

Due to the deeper compressive residual stress imparted by the laser peening process, components are more resistant to fatigue stress, improving the cost effectiveness of the operation of the component in terms of increased life and reduced maintenance costs. Other applications are under development for Rolls-Royce.”

Traditionally, metals have been peened by bombarding the material with tiny metal balls known as “shot” to induce a layer of compressive stress at the surface that prevents metal fatigue and reduces corrosion. Metal Improvement is the world’s leading provider of outsourced shot peening services for the metal working industry.”

For the full press release follow this link to LLNL News Releases.

Blasts of Light to Strengthen Metals

Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) and Metal Improvement Company (MIC) developed a version (brand) of laser peening that they call LasershotSM Peening.  In 1999 a web page appeared on the LLNL website tauting the new technology.

Here is a brief excerpt from the LLNL website:
“The new technology, called the LasershotSM Peening System, is designed to extend the service lifetime of critical metal parts, from aircraft engine fan blades Figure 1 to hip joints, by a factor of three to five times over conventional peening treatments. The process also holds the promise of lighter, stronger products of entirely new designs.
In traditional shot-peening procedures, each metal or ceramic ball acts as a minuscule ball-peen hammer, imparting on a metal surface a small indentation or dimple. This process produces, below the dimple, a hemisphere of highly shocked and compressed material. In time, overlapping dimples provide a very thin about 0.25 millimeter, uniform layer that is extremely resistant to cracks, corrosion, and fatigue. Because of these benefits, the springs and transmission components of almost every automobile are shot peened for longer life, as are aircraft structural components.
With the invention of the laser, researchers quickly recognized that peening could be achieved using high-energy lasers with pulse lengths in the tens of nanoseconds billionths of a second, short enough to generate a rapid yet energetic shock. Prototype laser peening machines were developed in the 1970s, but they and subsequent versions over the past two decades were not cost effective because the lasers lacked the high repetition rate required for treating parts rapidly.”

For the entire article click on this link: Blasts of Light to Strengthen Metals