Skip navigation
  D. The History and Evolution of Peening Metal

Narrator: This is Science Today. Peening is an ancient process used to harden metals. Historically, hand peening was used to make tools and armor.

Hackel: Peening goes way back to mankind sort of empirically figured out that if you pounded certain metals, they actually lasted longer for him. And he invented the ball peen hammer, this little round-ended hammer that he would pound the metal with and if he appropriately pounded it, he found it wouldn’t crack as much and so people would use this process.

Narrator: Lloyd Hackel, program leader of the Laser Science and Technology division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says peening has come a long way since then. Shot peening was introduced in the 1940s and in the 1970s, laser peening began. More recently, Hackel and his group developed a highly advanced laser peening technology that’s proven to be very beneficial for commercial and military aircraft parts.

Hackel: We’ve been developing this process since 1996 – perfecting it, making it work, understanding what it would have to be for an industrial application.

Narrator: For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin.