The traditional technique used to modify the surface of a metallic material is shot peening; however, cavitation peening, a more recent technique in which shot is not used, was developed, and improvements in the fatigue strength of metallic materials were demonstrated. In order to compare the fatigue properties introduced by shot peening with those introduced by cavitation peening, crack initiation and crack growth in specimens of austenitic stainless steel (Japanese Industrial Standards JIS SUS316L) treated using these techniques were investigated. With conventional cavitation peening, cavitation is produced by injecting a high speed water jet into water. In the case of submerged laser peening, bubbles are generated using a pulsed laser after laser ablation, and the impact produced when the bubbles collapse is larger than that due to laser ablation. Thus, in this study, cavitation peening using a water jet and submerged laser peening were investigated. To clarify the mechanisms whereby the fatigue strength is improved by these peening techniques, crack initiation and crack growth in specimens with and without treatment were examined by means of a K
-decreasing test, where K
is the stress intensity factor, and using a constant applied stress test using a load controlled plane bending fatigue tester. It was found that the improvement in crack initiation and the reduction in crack growth were roughly in a linear relationship, even though the specimens were treated using different peening methods. The results presented here show that the fatigue strength of SUS316L treated by these peening techniques is closely related to the reduction in crack growth, rather than crack initiation.
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