Warm laser shock peening (WLSP) is an innovative thermo-mechanical processing technique, which combines the advantages of laser shock peening (LSP) and dynamic aging (DA). It has been found that a unique microstructure with highly dense nanoscale precipitates surrounded by dense dislocation structures is generated by WLSP. In order to understand the nucleation mechanism of the highly dense precipitates during WLSP, aluminum alloy 6061 (AA6061) has been used by investigating the WLSP process with experiments and analytical modeling. An analytical model has been proposed to estimate the nucleation rate in metallic materials after WLSP. The effects of the processing temperature and high strain rate deformation on the activation energy of nucleation have been considered in this model. This model is based on the assumption that dynamic aging during WLSP can be assisted by the dense dislocation structures and warm temperature. The effects of the working temperature and dislocation density on the activation energy of precipitation have been investigated. This model is validated by a series of experiments and characterizations after WLSP. The relationships between the processing conditions, the nucleation density of precipitates and the defect density have been investigated.

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