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Proceedings Paper

Laser processing of micro-cracks for structural life extension
Author(s): James L. Blackshire; Larry Dosser; Ken Hix
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Paper Abstract

A considerable amount of work has recently been applied to the development of laser processing techniques for a wide variety of applications. With regard to aging aircraft, laser processing techniques could play a role in inhibiting crack growth and extending the life of structural aircraft components. The basic concept involves the application of a sharply-focused, moderate power laser beam to a local microscopic defect site that has been detected through advanced NDE techniques. The defect could be pitting corrosion site, a fretting region, or even a microcrack site. The laser would be raster-scanned across the defect, re-melting the site locally to a level where the sharp features of the defect are smoothed out, or perhaps re-melted completely to eliminate the flaw site altogether, thereby reducing stress concentration levels in the material. In order to test the feasibility of this basic concept, a series of measurements were made to study the effect of microscopic laser treatments applied to artificial defects in Al-2024-T3 aluminum and Ti-Al6-4V titanium. The major results of the study showed a moderate to significant level of fatigue life enhancement for engineered notches in the 1 mm size range. The laser treatmen approah may provide an opportunity for 'healing' structural defects in aerospace materials that would otherwise require expensive and time-consuming part replacements in aging aircraft structures.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 July 2004
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5392, Testing, Reliability, and Application of Micro- and Nano-Material Systems II, (21 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.540299
Show Author Affiliations
James L. Blackshire, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Larry Dosser, Mound Laser & Photonics Ctr., Inc. (United States)
Ken Hix, Mound Laser & Photonics Ctr., Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5392:
Testing, Reliability, and Application of Micro- and Nano-Material Systems II
Norbert Meyendorf; George Y. Baaklini; Bernd Michel, Editor(s)

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