Laser Shock Peening
30 Nov 2017



A new laser shock peening platform has been commissioned using the DiPOLE laser to improve material properties




Laser shock peening is a non-contact surface treatment that can improve the mechanical properties of metallic alloys through the introduction of deep compressive residual stress in excess of 2 mm beneath the treated surface. A nanosecond pulsed laser is targeted at the component surface creating energetic plasma which sends a shockwave deep into the material. This shockwave can be amplified by submerging the sample in water to confine the plasma and optional ablative coatings can also be used to enhance energy absorption. A new laser shock peening platform has been commissioned at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory’s Central Laser Facility based upon our in-house DiPOLE laser architecture: A 10J, 10Hz, nanosecond pulsed, cryogenic gas-cooled Yb:YAG laser. The flexible new system offers full control over the laser peening parameters enabling optimised treatments tailored to specific materials and their applications.




High value sectors such as aerospace and nuclear power generation have slowly adopted laser shock peening as a specialised tool for improving performance in critical components. In the nuclear industry, protection of pressurised water reactors against stress corrosion cracking is of fundamental importance to ensure safe operation over increasingly long reactor lifetimes. Pressure vessel steels are chosen for their stable microstructures at elevated temperatures with internal stainless steel cladding for improved corrosion resistance. ​



Contact: Smith, Jodie (STFC,RAL,CLF)