Defect detection and monitoring in metal additive manufactured parts through deep learning of spatially resolved acoustic spectroscopy signals

Jacob Williams, Paul Dryburgh, Adam Clare, Prahalada Rao, Ashok Samal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) is an additive manufacturing (AM) process that promises to herald a new age in manufacturing by removing many of the design and material-related constraints of traditional subtractive and formative manufacturing processes. However, the level and severity of defects observed in parts produced by the current class of LPBF systems will not be tolerated in safety-critical applications. Hence, there is a need to introduce information-rich process monitoring to assess part integrity simultaneously with fabrication so that opportune corrective action can be taken to minimize part defects. Spatially Resolved Acoustic Spectroscopy (SRAS) is a uniquely positioned nondestructive acoustic microscopy sensing approach that has been successfully used to probe the mechanical properties and assess the presence of defects in LPBF parts. However, the technique is sensitive to extraneous phenomena, such as surface reflectivity, which occur within the LPBF system and may occlude identification of surface breaking and subsurface defects. With a view to applying the SRAS technique for in-process monitoring in a production-scale LPBF environment and to overcome the foregoing challenge, this study proposes the use of a deep learning convolutional neural network that is termed Densely connected Convolutional Block Architecture for Multimodal Image Regression (DCB-MIR), which invokes SRAS-derived acoustic velocity maps of the part as input data and translates them to an output resembling an optical micrograph. Through this approach, we demonstrate that defects, such as porosity and surface imperfections in titanium alloy and nickel alloy specimens made using LPBF, which were not clearly discernable in the as-measured SRAS acoustic map and were obscured by artifacts in the optical image, are accurately identified. To quantify the accuracy of the approach, the cosine similarity between the predicted output images and target optical images was used as the objective function of DCB-MIR. The cosine similarity between the acquired SRAS signatures and the corresponding as-measured optical micrographs of samples typically ranged between -0.15 and 0.15. In contrast, when the optical micrograph-like images derived from DCB-MIR proposed in this work were compared with the optical signatures, the cosine similarity improved in the range of 0.25 to 0.60.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-226
Number of pages23
JournalSmart and Sustainable Manufacturing Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 19 2018


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Deep learning
  • Defect detection
  • Neural networks
  • Process monitoring
  • Spatially resolved acoustic spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Defect detection and monitoring in metal additive manufactured parts through deep learning of spatially resolved acoustic spectroscopy signals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this