Laser shock peening (LSP) of Al2O3 armour ceramics is reported for the first-time. A 10 J, 8 ns, pulsed Nd:YAG laser with a 532 nm wavelength was employed. The hardness, KIc, fracture morphology, topography, surface residual stresses and microstructures were investigated. The results showed an increase in the surface hardness by 10% which was confirmed by a reduction in Vickers indentations size by 5%. The respective flaw sizes of the Vickers indentations were also reduced (10.5%) and inherently increased the KIc (12%). Residual stress state by X-ray diffraction method showed an average stress of − 64 MPa after LSP, whilst the untreated surface stress measured + 219 MPa. Further verification with the fluorescence method revealed surface relaxation with a maximum compressive stress of − 172 MPa induced after LSP within the Al2O3 armour ceramic. These findings are attributed to a microstructural refinement, grain size reduction and an induction of compressive stress that was relaxing the top/near surface layer (post LSP) from the pre-existing tensile stresses. Further process refinement/optimization will provide better control of the surface properties and will act as a strengthening technique to improve the performance of armour ceramics to stop bullets for a longer period of time and protect the end-users.
Bibliographical notePublisher Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Materials and Design. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Materials and Design, [134, (2017)] DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2017.08.066
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- KIc fracture toughness
- residual stress