This paper reports substantially enhanced fatigue and corrosion-fatigue lifetimes of propulsion shaft materials, 23284A steel and 23284A steel with In625 weld overlay cladding, as a result of shot or laser peening. Glass reinforced plastic (GRP) coatings and Inconel claddings are used to protect shafts against general corrosion and corrosion pitting. However salt water leakage penetrating under a GRP can actually enhance pitting leading to crack initiation and growth. Fatigue coupons, untreated and with shot or laser peening were tested, including with simultaneous salt water immersion. Controlled corrosion of the surfaces was simulated with electric discharge machining (EDM) of deep pits enabling evaluation of fatigue and corrosion-fatigue lifetimes. Results specifically show high energy laser peening (HELP) to be a superior solution, improving corrosion-fatigue resistance of shaft and cladding metal, reducing the potential for corrosion pits to initiate fatigue cracks and dramatically slowing crack growth rates. At a heavy loading of 110% of the 23284A steel yield stress and with 0.020 inch deep pits, laser peening increased fatigue life of the steel by 1370% and by 350% in the corrosion-fatigue testing.

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