Bridging the Gap in Critical Load-Bearing Parts
3D printing and other advanced layer fabrication technologies are capable of revolutionizing the design and manufacture of products in many different industries. Technological advances in equipment and application are being achieved on an accelerated time scale and funding from government and industry is quickly driving the technology into new and exciting applications.
With the heavy investment and interest in the benefits of 3D printing, specifically laser melting and electron beam melting for metal parts, there are still several major technical hurdles that need to be addressed. Laser peening offers the potential to address some of these issues and bridge the gap that exists between conventionally manufactured parts and 3-D printed structures.
Laser Shock Peening
Laser shock peening, often referred to only as laser peening, is a surface enhancement process that uses high-powered, pulsed lasers to improve part properties. Originally industrialized during the 1990’s for application in flight critical parts for the US military, the technology has since been further developed, refined, and improved.The process is now applied to parts across many industries including: aerospace, performance automotive, power generation, medical, and industrial.
These industries have chosen to rely on laser peening as a result of the process offering peak material performance and the most process control, repeatability, and uniformity of any available surface enhancement technology. The benefits of laser peening have been proven in the harshest of conditions and the technology is now commercially available for application to any product requiring increased performance.
Laser Peening improves 3D Printed Structures
Improve Material Properties
One of the criticisms of 3D printed materials is that the material properties often fall below those of wrought products. Laser peening was founded on the enhancement of material properties and offers a method to achieve material performance characteristics above wrought products.
Through the use of laser peening, the material becomes stronger and is able to handle additional loading and damage without suffering failure. The improvement comes as a result of the distribution of compressive residual stresses within the material. By laser peening 3D printed structures, critical locations can be improved and strengthened to handle additional loads above the standard material limits.
Densifying the Structure
Quality concerns in 3D printed structures revolve around microdefects in the manufactured structures. Through laser peening, these defects and their effects can be eliminated. The benefits of laser peening on porous structures have previously been demonstrated for powder metallurgy. High powered shockwaves generated via laser peening increase the part density, eliminating voids and strengthening the formed metal parts. The deep compressive residual stress fields eliminate the critical sensitivity of parts to microvoids and other defects.
Extend Service Life
Laser peening increases service lifetimes frequently by a factor of tenfold. The increases in service life revolve around the prevention of failures from accumulated operational damage as well as unintended impact and handling damage. With laser peening applied at critical part locations, 3D partshave a greater damage tolerance and resist failure for extended periods of time.
Just as 3D printing allows engineers to reconsider the design of structures for optimal load distribution, laser peening further enhances design possibilities by enabling designs that were previously limited by material properties. With laser peening at key locations, parts can be designed to achieve higher efficiencies than just structural changes alone.
Complicated structures can develop dimensional tolerances that have been skewed as a result of 3D printing and other processes. With controlled application of laser peening, parts can be reshaped to be brought into an acceptable tolerance level. By correctively shaping parts, the time and resources used in the manufacturing of the part are salvaged.
Other benefits of laser peening
- Stress corrosion cracking prevention
- Surface texture improvement
- Increased fracture toughness
- Fretting prevention
- Erosion prevention
- Iron and steel alloys
- Stainless steels
- Nickel alloys
- Titanium alloys
- Cobalt alloys
- Aluminum alloys
- Magnesium alloys
- Copper alloys
- Tungsten carbide
- Silicon carbide
LSP Technologies as a Partner:
LSP Technologies has a long standing reputation as a technology leader that is dedicated to working with customers to address and solve their surface enhancement needs. With capabilities to handle parts from the largest production orders down to small job projects, LSP Technologies is flexible to the needs of its business partners. Operating three processing cells, with additional laser capability on standby, LSP Technologies offers quick turnaround service and open communication throughout projects and workloads. As the world’s first provider of laser peening equipment, LSP Technologies is at the forefront of laser peening technology and has a solution to meet your needs. In addition to processing capability, LSP Technologies offers the following services for our customers:
Finite Element Analysis:
LSP Technologies has a full modelling suite to enable application of laser peening to solid part models. These part models can then be evaluated with different loading scenarios and processing conditions to achieve the optimum performance.
Residual Stress Measurement:
Utilizing the slitting method of residual stress measurement, LSP Technologies evaluates processed customer parts to verify processing performance in accordance with best modelling practices.
With a full mechanical testing lab, LSP Technologies can handle rigorous mechanical testing programs for comparison of laser peened products against baseline or other modified components.
When the metallurgy of a product is in question LSP Technologies utilizes the characterization lab to evaluate the laser peening effects on the macro and micro level of materials.
For customers without dedicated materials engineering support, LSP Technologies offers failure analysis services to aid customers in solving failure issues. Through years of performing failure investigations, LSP Technologies staff is readily able to identify, diagnose, and solve service failures and suggest corrective actions.
Laser Peening Library:
LSP Technologies hosts the most comprehensive database of laser peening information in the world. As developers of the technology, every step in the progression of the process has been documented. With the ever expanding laser peening market, the list of additions to the library continues to multiply.
We invite you to contact us today to learn more about laser peening and how it can benefit your products. For more information, contact:
Stan Bovid, P.E.
6145 Scherers Place
Dublin, OH 43016
Ph: 614-718-3000 x415