Browsing Natural Sciences by Publisher "SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics)"
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Development in laser peening of advanced ceramicLaser peening is a well-known process applicable to surface treat metals and alloys in various industrial sectors. Research in the area of laser peening of ceramics is still scarce and a complete laser-ceramic interaction is still unreported. This paper focuses on laser peening of SiC ceramics employed for cutting tools, armor plating, dental and biomedical implants, with a view to elucidate the unreported work. A detailed investigation was conducted with 1064nm Nd:YAG ns pulse laser to first understand the surface effects, namely: the topography, hardness, KIc and the microstructure of SiC advanced ceramics. The results showed changes in surface roughness and microstructural modification after laser peening. An increase in surface hardness was found by almost 2 folds, as the diamond footprints and its flaws sizes were considerably reduced, thus, enhancing the resistance of SiC to better withstand mechanical impact. This inherently led to an enhancement in the KIc by about 42%. This is attributed to an induction of compressive residual stress and phase transformation. This work is a first-step towards the development of a 3-dimensional laser peening technique to surface treat many advanced ceramic components. This work has shown that upon tailoring the laser peening parameters may directly control ceramic topography, microstructure, hardness and the KIc. This is useful for increasing the performance of ceramics used for demanding applications particularly where it matters such as in military. Upon successful peening of bullet proof vests could result to higher ballistic strength and resistance against higher sonic velocity, which would not only prevent serious injuries, but could also help to save lives of soldiers on the battle fields.