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International Journal of Sustainable Engineering


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Sustainable surface modification using cavitation impact for enhancing


fatigue strength demonstrated by a power circulating-type gear tester
Hitoshi Soyamaa; Yuichi Sekinea
a
Department of Nanomechanics, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

First published on: 10 November 2009

To cite this Article Soyama, Hitoshi and Sekine, Yuichi(2010) 'Sustainable surface modification using cavitation impact for
enhancing fatigue strength demonstrated by a power circulating-type gear tester', International Journal of Sustainable
Engineering, 3: 1, 25 — 32, First published on: 10 November 2009 (iFirst)
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/19397030903395174
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19397030903395174

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International Journal of Sustainable Engineering
Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2010, 25–32

Sustainable surface modification using cavitation impact for enhancing fatigue strength
demonstrated by a power circulating-type gear tester
Hitoshi Soyama* and Yuichi Sekine
Department of Nanomechanics, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
(Received 26 March 2009; final version received 1 October 2009)

In order to enable the manufacture of lightweight materials for transportation equipment, such as cars and aircraft, an
improvement in the fatigue strength of materials is required, as these forms of transport are designed taking fatigue fracture
into consideration. Surface treatment procedures, such as shot peening, are generally employed to improve fatigue strength.
Shot peening deforms metallic materials to produce work hardening and introduce compressive residual stress, leading to
improved fatigue strength. Although shot peening is an effective and reliable method against fatigue fracture, the shot
eventually becomes dust and industrial waste. Recently, a peening method without the use of shot using cavitation impact
has been developed. This is called ‘cavitation peening’. In the present paper, gears, which are typical machine components,
were examined in order to demonstrate the improvement in fatigue strength by cavitation peening. Gears made of carburised
chromium molybdenum steel were treated by cavitation peening and shot peening. The fatigue strength was evaluated using
a power circulating-type gear test machine. Under the conditions employed, the gear lifetime was limited by fracture at the
root of the tooth. The improvement in the fatigue strength of gears treated by cavitation peening was 24% and in those
treated by shot peening it was 12% compared with non-peened gears. It was demonstrated that cavitation peening can
improve the fatigue strength of gears without the use of shot.
Keywords: lightweight; surface modification; shot peening; fatigue strength; gear; cavitation
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Introduction surface would help improve the fatigue strength of the


The manufacture of lightweight transport equipment is one metallic machine components.
of the strategies being employed to realise a sustainable A peening method using cavitation impact, which
society, as it reduces CO2 emissions and is also good from normally causes severe erosion in hydraulic machinery,
the point of view of petroleum resources. The size, i.e. the such as pumps and valves (Soyama et al. 1992, Brennen
weight, of the metallic machine components of cars and 1995), has been proposed. It is called ‘cavitation peening’
aircraft is mainly determined by their fatigue strength. (Soyama 2006) or ‘cavitation shotless peening’ (Soyama
Surface modification techniques for improving fatigue life et al. 2002, 2003a, Odhiambo and Soyama 2003) as shot is
will lead to reduced material and energy consumption not required. The introduction of compressive residual
since it will lead to less frequent replacement of stress using a cavitation tunnel (Blickwedel et al. 1987)
components. Consequently, there will be a reduction in and ultrasonic cavitation (Rawers et al. 1991) has been
new material extraction, processing, transport and reported. In both cases, the cavitating area was limited.
eventual landfill. Shot peening is one of the effective Thus, the treatment area was also limited and therefore
surface modification processes used to improve fatigue these methods cannot be utilised for the surface
strength and reliability. The impact of shot on the defects modification of machine components. The introduction
that are the source of fatigue fracture produces work of compressive residual stress using a cavitating jet, i.e. a
hardening and introduces compressive residual stress (Al- high-speed submerged water jet with cavitation bubbles,
Obaid 1990). However, the use of shot produces dust that was proposed (Soyama et al. 1996a) and its efficacy was
is not only harmful to workers but also presents the danger confirmed (Hirano et al. 1996). In the case of the cavitating
of dust explosion. In addition, the broken shot eventually jet, the cavitation bubbles can be produced wherever the
becomes industrial waste. Another disadvantage of shot impact is required and the intensity can be controlled
peening is that the impact of shot causes an increase in by hydraulic parameters such as the upstream and
surface roughness, which reduces the fatigue strength. If a downstream pressures at the nozzle (Soyama et al.
peening method without the use of shot was to be 1998). A normal water jet, i.e. a water jet in air, can
established, it would support the development of light- introduce compressive residual stress (Tönshoff et al.
weight materials for transport equipment, as the smooth 1995). However, by using a cavitating jet for modifying

*Corresponding author. Email: soyama@mm.mech.tohoku.ac.jp


ISSN 1939-7038 print/ISSN 1939-7046 online
q 2010 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/19397030903395174
http://www.informaworld.com
26 H. Soyama and Y. Sekine

the surface, the following advantages can be obtained: the


impact pressure generated by the cavitating jet can be
higher than that from a water jet in air at the same pump
pressure and the treatment area with a cavitating jet can be
much greater than that for a water jet in air (Yamauchi et al.
1995). Although a conventional cavitating jet has been
produced by injecting a high-speed water jet into a water-
filled chamber, a cavitating jet in air has to make do
without the chamber. In this case, by injecting a high-
speed water jet into a low-speed water jet, a cavitating jet
in air for peening was successfully realised (Soyama
2004). The optimised cavitating jet in air was found to be
more effective for peening than a normal cavitating jet in
water (Soyama 2004), and the improvement in the fatigue
strength of stainless steel treated by a cavitating jet in air
was demonstrated using a plate bending fatigue test Figure 1. Severe erosive longitudinal cavitation.
(Soyama 2007). As compressive residual stress is
introduced by cavitation peening, it has been applied as the gear under test was fixed, and with an applied load the
preventive maintenance against stress corrosion cracking gear fractured at the roots of the teeth. Although it was
in nuclear power plants (Saitou et al. 2003). Laser peening possible to enhance the fatigue strength of the gear under
has also been applied to nuclear power plants (Sano et al. fixed conditions by cavitation peening, the fatigue strength
2008) and furthermore, it has been proposed for should be examined using a power circulating-type gear
application to machine components. However, the cost test machine, in which the gear under test is rotated while
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of laser peening is nearly 10 times higher than that of the load is applied.
conventional shot peening due to the expensive laser In the present paper, in order to demonstrate the effect
system. In the case of cavitation peening, an expensive of peening by cavitation impact without shot on an actual
plunger pump is not required as cavitation impact is used machine component, the fatigue strength of the gear was
and high pressure is not required. The cost of cavitation evaluated using a power circulating-type gear test
peening is similar to or less than that of shot peening, as machine. The gear was treated by cavitation peening and
shot is not used. Cavitation peening can enhance the shot peening. This is the first report to demonstrate
fatigue strength of metallic materials in the same way as the improvement in fatigue strength of a gear treated by
shot peening. Although the improvement in fatigue cavitation peening using a power circulating-type gear test
strength of metallic materials treated by cavitation peening machine and to compare it to one treated by shot peening.
has been demonstrated using a rotating-bending fatigue
test (Soyama et al. 2001, 2002) and a plate bending fatigue
test (Soyama 2007), a real machine test is required.
Principle of cavitation peening
Typical machine components requiring shot peening
are gears. As shot peening roughens the surface, barrel Cavitation is a phase change phenomenon, which means
polishing is subsequently required. The great advantage of the water vaporises due to a decrease in pressure by
cavitation peening is that the treated surface is very increasing the flow velocity. Although much research has
smooth compared with that after shot peening (Soyama been done on spherical bubbles (Brennen 1995),
et al. 2004). If the fatigue strength of gears can be longitudinal cavitation, which consists of tiny longitudinal
enhanced by cavitation peening, this would be a powerful cavitation bubbles, as shown in Figure 1, causes severe
surface treatment method for them, considering the cavitation impact (Soyama et al. 1994). This means that
tribological problems related to the contacting surfaces. longitudinal cavitation can be useful for cavitation impact
The strength or the lifetime of gears is determined by two applications. A schematic diagram of the development and
damage patterns, i.e. fatigue fracture at the roots of the
teeth and pitting damage on the tooth surface. If the fatigue
strength and applied pressure of gears can be improved,
lightweight gears can be realised. In a previous paper, the
pitting damage on gears and rollers was reduced by
cavitation peening (Seki et al. 2008). It has also been
proven that cavitation peening improves the fatigue
strength of gears evaluated by a bending fatigue test Figure 2. Schematic diagram of the development and collapse
(Soyama and Macodiyo 2005). In the previous experiment, of longitudinal cavitation.
International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 27
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Figure 3. Aspect of peened surface: (a) cavitation peening and (b) shot peening.
28 H. Soyama and Y. Sekine

Figure 4. Schematic diagram of cavitating jet.


Figure 5. Cavitating jet apparatus for cavitation peening.

collapse of longitudinal cavitation is shown in Figure 2. In cavitation bubbles. Therefore, the increase in surface
the low-pressure region of the vortex core induced by an roughness of the specimen treated by cavitation peening is
increase in flow velocity, cavitation nuclei, which are tiny
smaller than that by shot peening. The introduced residual
bubbles desorbed in water, become cavitation bubbles.
These are arranged longitudinally due to the vortex. When stress of both cavitation peening and shot peening was
the flow velocity is decreased, the bubbles shrink and a about 2 800 MPa (Soyama 2004). This means that
micro jet is generated. The micro jet causes severe cavitation peening can introduce compressive residual
cavitation impact which can deform metallic materials. As stress without an increase in surface roughness. Cavitation
the cavitation bubbles rebound in a short time, a shock peening can also decrease micro-strain, which might be a
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wave is produced causing plastic deformation of the source of fatigue fracture (Soyama and Yamada 2008).
metallic material. These micro jets and shock waves can be In the case of cavitation peening, cavitation bubbles
used for peening in place of shot peening. In the case of are generated by injecting a high-speed water jet into
cavitation peening, the surface is smooth compared with a
water. This is called a cavitating jet. A schematic diagram
shot-peened one, as there is no collision between solid
of high-speed observation of a cavitating jet is shown in
materials. In order to demonstrate the difference in surface
roughness induced by cavitation peening and shot peening, Figure 4 (Soyama et al. 1995, 1996b). When pressurised
surfaces observed by a laser scanning microscope are water is injected into water, cavitation bubbles form in the
shown in Figure 3. In this case, the treated material was low-pressure region of the vortex core in the shear layer
tool alloy steel. Although plastic deformation pits induced around the jet. These vortex cavitations combine and
by cavitation impact can be seen, the surface is smoother become a cloud cavitation consisting of tiny bubbles.
than that produced by shot peening. In addition, the When the cloud cavitation impinges on the surface, it
arithmetic average roughness of the non-peened specimen, becomes a ring vortex cavitation. A part of the ring vortex
the shot-peened specimen and the cavitation-peened
cavitation collapses giving rise to longitudinal cavitation.
specimen made of tool alloy steel are 0.06, 1.00 and
0.18 mm, respectively (Soyama et al. 2003b). In the case of The cloud cavitation was shedding periodically with a
shot peening, the metallic material was peened by the frequency of several kilohertz (Soyama et al. 1995). This
impact between solid materials, whereas in the case of means that a cavitating jet frequently produces longitudi-
cavitation peening the material was peened by collapsing nal cavitation.

Table 1. Properties of the gears.

Test gear Mating gear


Modulus, M (mm) 2.4 2.4
Pressure angle, a (8) 25 25
Number of teeth, Z 35 40
Addendum modification coefficient, X þ0.03 2 0.03
Pitch diameter, dp (mm) 84 96
Tip diameter, da (mm) 89.5 101.2
Root diameter, df (mm) 78 89.7
Tooth width, W (mm) 7 10
Centre distance, sc (mm) 90
International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 29

Figure 6. Appearance of eroded pure aluminium surface


induced by a cavitating jet.

Experimental facilities and procedure


Figure 5 illustrates the cavitating jet apparatus used for
Figure 7. Set-up of test gear with dummy gears for cavitation
cavitation peening in the present experiment. The test peening.
chamber, where the test or mating gears were set, was
filled with tap water and then a high-speed water jet, cavitation peening, the gears were treated by cavitation
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pressurised by a plunger pump, was injected through a peening after barrel polishing, as the surface treated after
nozzle into the chamber. Details of the apparatus can be cavitation peening was very smooth compared with the
found in the following references (Soyama et al. 2002, shot-peened surface.
2008, Soyama and Macodiyo 2005, Seki et al. 2008). In this study, a power circulating-type gear test
Considering the results of previous work, the injection machine was used. The test gear was set to be the driving
pressure p1 and the pressure of the chamber p2 were gear, the mating gear was set to be the driven one and the
selected to be 30 and 0.42 MPa, respectively. In the present driving speed for the fatigue test was 2600 rpm. In the
article, the pressures given are the absolute pressures. The present study, the torque Dn was used to refer to the
throat size of the nozzle used was 2 mm in diameter. The loading on the surface of the gear tooth, and the number of
stand-off distance is defined as the distance from the cycles N to fracture was measured. The Dn –N curve was
upstream corner of the nozzle throat to the surface at the determined. The temperature of the lubricant was
root of the gear tooth. This was set at 80 mm. These controlled to be 353 ^ 2 K and pressure lubrication was
conditions for cavitation peening were optimised in a implemented.
previous report (Soyama 1998). Both the test and mating
gears were treated by cavitation peening for 5 min, rotating
at a constant speed of 20 rpm. Experimental results
Table 1 describes the properties of the test and mating Figure 6 illustrates a pure aluminium surface that has been
gears, which are spur gears with teeth with involute exposed to a cavitating jet for 1 min using the present
profiles and a module of 2.4 mm. Both the test and mating conditions in order to show the area treated. The erosion
gears are made of chromium molybdenum steel, approved pattern is typical of that induced by a cavitating jet. The
by Japanese Industrial Standard JIS SCM420H, and were erosion at the centre of the jet is only slight and the main
finish ground after carburising. The gears were treated by erosion region is an annular ring with an outer diameter of
cavitation peening or shot peening. A non-peened gear, about 33 mm and an inner diameter of about 17 mm.
labelled the NP gear, was prepared for comparison. This Cavitation clouds around the jet hit the surface, spread out
was finished by barrel polishing to make the gear teeth and then collapse as shown in Figure 6. As the impact is
to be the same shape and for them to engage in the same produced as the bubble collapses, the main erosion region,
fashion as the other specimens. The shot peening i.e. the peened area, has an annular shape. Since the width
conditions were as follows: the injection pressure of the of the teeth of the test and mating gears was 7 and 10 mm,
shot was 0.2 –0.3 MPa and the diameter and Vickers respectively, the cavitation bubbles cannot develop
hardness of the shot were 0.3 mm and 700, respectively. sufficiently on the surface of the gear teeth. Therefore,
After shot peening, the gears were finished by barrel the test and mating gears were each stacked with three
polishing in the same way as the NP gear. In the case of other dummy gears of the same type, as shown in Figure 7.
30 H. Soyama and Y. Sekine

For reference, a 25 mm diameter dotted circle is shown in


Figures 6 and 7. The test or mating gear for the fatigue test
was set at position No. 1 and the centre of the jet was set to
the centre of the dummy gear at position No. 3.
Figure 8 shows a surface treated by cavitation peening
observed using a laser microscope. Several pits have
appeared on the surface. As the surface has not been
eroded, these pits are plastic deformation pits without
mass loss. The diameters of the pits are from a few tens of
micrometre to about 100 mm. Three typical pits, i.e. pits
A – C in Figure 8, were measured individually using the
laser microscope, and the profiles of these are shown in
Figure 9. The depths of pits A – C are 1.56, 1.36 and
0.97 mm, respectively. That is, the plastic deformation pits
induced by cavitation impact are narrow. In the case of
shot peening, the shape of the pit is generally
hemispherical because small balls are generally used for Figure 9. Profiles of pits induced by cavitation peening.
shot. The pressure distribution between the shot and the
surface is a half-elliptic pressure distribution because of Figure 12 shows the Dn – N curve obtained using the
Hertz contact (Al-Obaid 1990). On the other hand, power circulating-type gear test machine. The fatigue
Soyama reported that the pressure distribution of an torque at 107 cycles was determined by Little’s method
individual cavitation impact is cone shaped with a (Little 1972), which showed it to be 337 Nm for the NP
maximum intensity at the cone centre (Soyama and Saito gear, 376 Nm for the shot-peened gear and 418 Nm for the
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2003). These pressure distributions can affect the shape of caritation peened gear. Incidentally, Little’s method is used
pits after peening techniques. for calculating the fatigue strength using small sample
Figures 10 and 11 show the fractured NP gear and the fatigue-limit response data. The fatigue torque of the test
fractured cavitation-peened gear, respectively. In these gear treated by shot peening was increased by 12% and
figures, an overview of the fractured tooth, placed back on that of the gear treated by cavitation peening was increased
the gear after breaking, is shown in (a), and the origins of by 24% compared with that of the NP gear. Under the
the break are indicated by arrows. The surface of the gear present test conditions, it is clear that the improvement in
tooth is shown in (b), and the limits of the contact area are fatigue strength of the test gear treated by cavitation
indicated by arrows. Both with and without peening, the peening is greater than that treated by shot peening.
gear tooth broke at the dedendum circle and the fracture Considering the material mechanics, the maximum
was initiated at the surface. Although the contact area is bending stress occurs at the dedendum circle of the gear,
shown by the shiny line as seen in Figures 10(b) and 11(b), and the gears are fractured at the dedendum circle as
pitting damage was not observed. Under the present shown in Figures 10 and 11. However, the introduction of
conditions, the gear was fractured at the root of the tooth. compressive residual stress and the hardness at the
dedendum circle of the gear can have an effect on
improving the fatigue strength after cavitation peening. In
a previous paper, it was reported that a compressive
residual stress of approximately 200 MPa was introduced
into the dedendum circle of the gear, and the gear was

Figure 8. Emergence of pits on the tooth surface induced by Figure 10. Fractured NP gear. (a) The arrow shows the origin of
cavitation impacts. the break. (b) The arrow shows the limits of the contact area.
International Journal of Sustainable Engineering 31

cavitation peening and shot peening were investigated


using a power circulating-type gear tester. Under the
conditions used here, the improvement in the fatigue
torque of a test gear treated by shot peening was 12%
compared with that of a nNP gear, while that of a gear
treated by cavitation peening was 24%. Thus, the fatigue
strength of gears treated by cavitation peening was
increased, with double the improvement gained by shot
peening. It can be concluded that cavitation peening is
Figure 11. Fractured gear treated by cavitation peening. (a) The
a more effective surface modification method than shot
arrow shows the origin of the break. (b) The arrow shows the peening.
limits of the contact area.

work hardened after cavitation peening (Seki et al. 2008). Acknowledgements


In the case of cavitation peening, the cavitation bubble This work was partly supported by the Japan Society for the
flows into the dedendum circle more easily than the shot in Promotion of Science under Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research
shot peening. In addition, the increase in surface roughness (A) 20246030. The power circulating-type gear test was carried
out at Honda R&D Co., Ltd., working cooperatively with Mr
after cavitation peening is smaller than that after shot Takashi Tanaka. The authors express their appreciation to both.
peening, the fatigue crack initiation life of cavitation-
peened specimen is longer than that of non-peened
specimen (Masaki et al. 2008), and the micro-strain, which References
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