Cavitation damage can significantly affect system performance. Thus, there is great interest in characterizing cavitation damage and improving materials’ resistance to cavitation damage. In this paper, we present a novel methodology to simulate cavitation environment. A pulsed laser is utilized to induce optical breakdown in the cavitation media, with the emission of shock wave and the generation of bubbles. The pressure waves induced by the optical breakdown fluctuate/propagate within the media, which enables the cavitation to occur and to further develop cavitation damage at the solid boundary. Using the repetitive pulsed-pressure apparatus developed in the current study, cavitation damage in water media was verified on stainless steel and aluminum samples. Characteristic cavitation damages such as pitting and indentation are observed on sample surfaces using scanning electron microscopy. The synergistic effect of combining cavitation and the laser heating/water cooling induced thermal cycling fatigue to the target surface damage was also demonstrated in the report.

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