Image Number 2 for United States Patent #8297179.
A process for hardening an annular groove of a piston head of a piston of an internal combustion engine by means of laser beams, in which, at least the annular groove to be hardened is provided before or directly during the hardening process with a coating which absorbs the energy of laser beams. The coating is subsequently irradiated by the laser beams. The absorbing layer can be a manganese phosphate coating or is formed in situ by treating the component surface with a process gas comprising oxygen and inert gas. Furthermore, the laser beams are directed at the piston during hardening at an oblique angle to the direction of rotation. The advantages achieved are avoidance of reflections and undesirable hardening of the bottom of the groove, an increased degree of absorption and reduced distortion of the piston.