Laser Peening fights radiation-based PWSCC in nickel alloy

Research team includes Micheal Kattoura, now an LSPT materials scientist

Laser peening can prevent or arrest failure of pipes and containment structures due to one of the most pernicious metal threats to nuclear components: Primary Water Stress Corrosion Cracking (PWSCC). That is the conclusion of a team of scientists from Purdue, the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Idaho National Laboratory, including Micheal Kattoura, then a Ph.D. candidate at UC and now a Materials Scientist at LSP Technologies, Inc. (LSPT).

Kattoura worked with an interdisciplinary team to publish their findings in the Journal of Nuclear Materials as “Effects of corrosion-inhibiting surface treatments on irradiated microstructure development in Ni-base alloy 718,” published online in early October (See abstract or access the full study at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022311518309097 – download fees apply).

Laser Shock Peening and UNSM processes

Laser Shock Peening (LSP) and UNSM work differently to prevent radiation damage.

“Radiation looks for ways to attack the structural integrity of metal parts, especially areas at or near the surface of the part,” Kattoura said.

“We call these point defects, and – depending on the type of metal – the radiation will make parts more brittle, softer or more vulnerable to corrosion and cracking. But by all the measures that we used in the experiments, laser peening provided substantial benefits to prevent damage to irradiated parts.”

The newly published research, though not sponsored by LSPT, adds to the strong rationale for providing laser peening equipment to the nuclear power industry , said David Lahrman, LSP  Technologies VP of Business Development. (See LSP Technologies Wins Customers in New Markets.) “We’ve been supplying laser peening services to the power generation industry for many years, and this research is another indication of how much nuclear power operations can benefit from laser peening,” he said.

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