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Shot Peening

Shot peening is a cold-working process used to produce a compressive residual stress layer and modify mechanical properties of metals. It entails impacting a surface with shot (round metallic, glass, or ceramic particles) with force sufficient to create plastic deformation.

Shot peening is similar to sandblasting, except that it operates by the mechanism of plasticity rather than abrasion: each particle functions as a ball-peen hammer. In practice, this means that less material is removed, and less dust created.

Peening a surface spreads it plastically, causing changes in the mechanical properties of the surface. Shot peening is often called for in aircraft repairs to relieve tensile stresses built up in the grinding process, to replace them with beneficial compressive stresses. Depending on the part geometry, part material, shot material, shot quality, shot intensity, shot coverage, shot peening can increase fatigue life up to 1000%.

Plastic deformation induces a residual compressive stress in a peened surface, along with tensile stress in the interior. Surface compressive stresses confer resistance to metal fatigue and to some forms of stress corrosion. The tensile stresses deep in the part are not as problematic as tensile stresses on the surface because cracks are less likely to start in the interior.

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