The beneficial effects of a new technique that extends the useful life of stainless steels, aluminum alloys and titanium has been demonstrated by researchers. Due to changes in surface properties, this technique is especially suitable and competitive for future material processing of the aeronautics, nuclear, automotive and biomedical industry.
Laser Shock Processing (LSP), also called laser-generated shock waves, is a technique based on the deformation and generation of shock waves in metallic materials enhancing the surface properties against wear, crack growth and stress corrosion cracking. This research, carried out at the Laser Centre of UPM by a team led by Professor José Luis Ocaña, has successfully applied this technique to the treatment of diverse components in order to enhance its wear resistance and extend its useful life.
Among the tested components there are, for example, turbines or elements used in artificial hips. Researchers from UPM have verified that LSP treatments on these components can increase their useful life. This is an example of how the development and the usage of computational model can help optimize the design processing to solve real problems.
In spite of the availability of LSP technique in certain labs, such as the Laser Centre of UPM, the practical developments at industrial levels still need to reach a sufficient level of industrial implementation and also requires a previous effort to develop the skills for the processing design. The Laser Centre of UPM is currently focused on the enhancement of LSP processes under different irradiation conditions, monitoring systems and process control for a straight transfer to industry. Researchers at the Laser Centre also work on the design and development of numerical models that provide data of optimal values of the different process parameters.
Due to its experience, equipments and national and international contacts, the Laser Centre of UPM is a pioneering unit for R&D in advanced manufacturing and materials processing with laser in diverse industrial areas. Besides, it is a referent centre in education, dissemination and technology transfer to industry.
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