Assessment of surface hardening effects from shot peening on a Ni-based alloy using electron backscatter diffraction techniques

An electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD)-based tool is described to assess the depth of strain-hardening effects of shot-peening treatments applied to the Ni-based superalloy, Udimet© alloy 720Li. The method consists of a statistical analysis of a number of data points from each grain scanned based on the grain orientation spread and their relative position from the shot-peened edge. The output is a quantitative measure of the depth of strain-hardening effects. The tool is used at various shot-peening intensities to demonstrate the ability to distinguish between these changes, using a range of intensities from 4 to 10 Almen. An increase in shot-peening intensity is observed to increase the depth of strain-hardening effects in the alloy. A comparison with residual stress measurements using X-ray diffraction for the same material shows that the strain-hardened depth determined by EBSD extends to approximately half the distance of the residual stress present due to shot peening. A comparison is also made with predicted profiles from the PeenstressSM model and subsequent microhardness testing. A positive correlation is observed between strained hardened depth and surface roughness of the peened samples. In each case, the increases in surface roughness and strain-hardened depth diminish toward the upper end of the shot-peening intensity range studied for this alloy.