In the nuclear industry surface mechanical treatments are used in order to improve the surface integrity of the component, which increases their lifetime regarding corrosion and fatigue damages. A good understanding of these processes and their consequences is required to ensure the efficiency and perpetuity of such mitigation treatment.

This study focuses on the ultrasonic shot peening process. It consists in shooting at high speed small steel beads on the part to be treated by using a high frequency vibration device. Parameters such as the number and the size of beads, the input frequency and the dimensions of the chamber can induce large ranges of impact velocity and coverage. In order to help manufacturers to control the treatment applied on their components, a numerical model has been developed. It accounts for the shocks of the beads against the walls of the chamber, the peening head and between beads, describing their motions accurately.

In this paper, we will introduce the numerical model developed to simulate the motions of beads in the peening chamber. Special attention will be taken to the determination of the restitution rates related to the different materials. Results of the model will be shown for different process parameter (e.g. the number of beads), and a thorough analysis of their effects on the workpiece will be presented, including a comparison with some experimental results.

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