21 July 2004 Laser processing of micro-cracks for structural life extension
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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.
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James L. Blackshire, James L. Blackshire, Larry Dosser, Larry Dosser, Ken Hix, Ken Hix, } "Laser processing of micro-cracks for structural life extension", Proc. SPIE 5392, Testing, Reliability, and Application of Micro- and Nano-Material Systems II, (21 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.540299; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.540299
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