Although the major application of shot peening is related to improvement of fatigue characteristics, other useful applications have been developed, such as metal forming, straightening, improving resistance to stress corrosion, and testing the adhesion of plated deposits of silver on steel.

Improving Fatigue Properties. The improvement in fatigue strength obtained on several aluminum alloys and carbon and low-alloy steels is indicated in Table 2, which lists the type and size of shot, the peening intensity used on most of the materials, and data on the fatigue test specimens, the type of fatigue test, and the surface condition of specimens.

Forming. Shot peening is well suited for certain operations in the forming of thin sections. It has been used to form, as well as to strengthen, structural components of aircraft. An example is integrally stiffened aircraft wing panels. These were machined from slabs of aluminum alloy 2024-T6, 7075-T6, or others, which had to be curved for aerodynamic reasons. The large size of these panels, 10 m (32 ft) by 1.2 m (46 in.), precluded the use of hot forming. Cold forming produced surface tensile stresses of 140 MPa (20 ksi) or more, which were alleviated by shot peening the panels on the tension side. Proper curvature of the panels could be obtained by shot peening alone, with careful control of intensity. The need for conventional cold forming methods was avoided, and the high compressive stresses induced by peening reduced the probability of early fatigue failure.

Other parts that have been successfully formed by peening techniques include precision collets and large aluminum tubes that were preformed in halves in a press brake and peened to the desired diameter.

Straightening and correcting of distortion by peening have been used in salvaging parts. For example, large ring gears,

915 mm (36 in.) outside diameter by 19 mm (— in.) thick, developed 3 mm (- in.) out-of-roundness as a result of heat

treating. Shot peening restored the gears to within 0.13 mm (0.005 in.) of perfect roundness. In another instance, shafts 50

mm (2 in.) outside diameter by 2 m (80 in.) long developed a 19 mm (^ in.) bow, which was straightened to within 0.8 mm (32 in ) by shot peening.

Improving Resistance to Stress Corrosion. Stress corrosion is a complex interaction of sustained tensile stress at a surface and corrosive attack that can result in brittle failure of a ductile material. Cracking due to stress corrosion has been associated with several metals, including brass, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, zinc, titanium, and magnesium. The surface tensile stresses that cause stress corrosion can be effectively overcome by the compressive stresses induced by shot peening, with either steel shot or glass beads.

In one case, test bars, 11.1 mm (0.437 in.) in diameter were cut in the short transverse direction from a 7075-T6

aluminum alloy hand forging and stressed to 75% of the yield strength. During alternate immersion tests in 3 2% sodium chloride solution, unpeened specimens failed in 1, 5, 17, and 28 days, respectively. Specimens peened in the unstressed condition with S230 cast steel shot lasted 365 and 730 days, when failure occurred in the unpeened grip outside the test area. During exposure to an industrial atmosphere, similar unpeened test bars failed in 20, 37, 120, and 161 days, respectively, whereas a peened specimen under the same conditions as above was uncracked when it was removed from testing after an exposure of 8-2 years.

Salt-fog tests on axial tension-test specimens of martensitic stainless steel showed that failure could be expected in a few days at stresses between 275 MPa (40 ksi) and 965 MPa (140 ksi). Shot peened specimens stressed at 690 MPa (100 ksi) lasted 14 to 21 days, as compared to 2 to 4 days for unpeened specimens. At a stress of 415 MPa (60 ksi), no failure of a peened specimen had occurred in 75 days, at which point the test was discontinued. Peening was beneficial, but it could not prevent stress corrosion at high stress levels. Table 3 presents stress-corrosion data indicating the life of peened and unpeened specimens of magnesium alloys, brass, and stainless steel in various corrosive mediums. All of these materials showed a high degree of improvement in resistance to stress corrosion as a result of shot peening.

Table 3 Effects of shot peening on stress-corrosion life of alloys


Solution to which exposed

Time to failure



Magnesium, AZ31B-H

Potassium chromate and sodium chromate

110 s

>10 days

Magnesium, AZ61A-H

Potassium chromate and sodium chloride

9— min 4

430 h

Brass cups, cold drawn


21 h 2

19 and 47 h

Testing Adhesion of Silver Plate. The successful use of silver as a heavy-duty bearing material depends on a uniform high-strength bond between the silver plate and the steel substrate. Evaluating the integrity of the bond by peening has been accomplished with a high degree of reliability. Use of this technique on other electrodeposits is unknown. In the poorly bonded areas, the silver deforms plastically under the peening action of the shot and forms wrinkles or blisters.

Shot peening intensities required for revealing defectively bonded areas may be determined experimentally, using the data in Fig. 10 as a guide. Figure 10(a) shows the minimum shot peening intensity required to blister poorly bonded silver plate in relation to the thickness of the plate. Silver is plated at least 60% thicker than the finished dimensions require. The plate is then machined to a uniform extra thickness for peen testing. The intensity is adjusted to +0.004, -0 of that indicated in Fig. 10(a). Uniform coverage and exposure time should be maintained. Masking is applied to the unplated areas. After peening, the surface is machined again to final dimensions. Data in Fig. 10(b) show the relation between the minimum thickness of silver for peen testing and the maximum finished thickness of silver.

Fig. 10 Peen testing of silver plate on steel. (a) Minimum shot peening intensity required to blister poorly bonded silver plate, shown as related to plate thickness. (b) Relation between minimum thickness of silver plate for peen testing and maximum finished thickness of plate.
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