Laser hardening or laser peening involves the interaction of an intense laser pulse
with the absorbing surface of the metal under water. An ablation shockwave is
produced which, depending on the geometry and laser beam area, induces residual
stress on the surface layer of the metal. The aim of the research work presented in
this thesis is to investigate optically the laser peening method by analysing the
ablation shock waves using high-resolution Schlieren photography. [Continues.]
A Master's Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy at Loughborough University.