A Beginner’s Guide to the Metalworking Process Peening

Car doors lined up

Raw metal often has unattractive qualities and characteristics that make it unsuitable for manufacturing applications. As a result, metalworking companies may alter raw metal to improve its physical properties — a process known as peening. Whether it’s steel, aluminum, copper or bronze, most types of metal can be peened. With that said, there are different forms of peening, each of which involves a unique metalworking method. In this post, you’ll learn more about peening and how it’s able to improve the physical properties of metal.

What Is Peening?

The term “peening” refers to any metalworking process that’s intended to improve the physical properties of metal. When executed correctly, it can make raw metal stronger and less ductile. Most forms of peening are mechanical, such as hammer peening. Other forms, however, rely on non-mechanical ways to improve the physical properties of peening. Regardless, peening is any metalworking process that’s intended to improve the physical properties of metal.

Hammer Peening

The most common form of peening involves the use of a hammer to bend and deform metal. Known as hammer peening, it’s used extensively in the automotive industry to create doors and other chassis components of vehicles. With hammer peening, the metal is physically deformed using a hammer. Hammer peening can be performed manually — a worker slams a hammer against one or both sides of a metal workpiece — or it can be performed automatically using a machine-assisted power hammer.

Shot Peening

In addition to hammer peening, another common form of peening is shot. Like hammer peening, shot peening is a cold working process that involves manipulating metal at room temperature or near room temperature. Rather than using a hammer, though, shot peening lives up to its namesake by using “shots” of small particulate matter. The shots are typically round pellets of metal or glass. When blasted across the surface of a metal workpiece, they alter the metal’s physical properties.

Laser Peening

A more modern and advanced form of peening is laser. Known as laser peening or laser shock peening, it’s designed to improve the physical properties of metal through the application of laser light. With laser peening, pulses of high-powered laser light are applied to the surface of metal.

In Conclusion

Peening is a metalworking process that’s used to improve the physical properties of metal. It’s typically performed using a hammer. Performing hammer blows on metal alters its physical properties to make it more desirable. Other forms of peening, however, rely on non-mechanical means of alteration, such as laser.

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