Gamma titanium aluminide (γ-TiAl) is considered a high-performance, low-density replacement for nickel-based superalloys in the aerospace industry due to its high specific strength, which is retained at temperatures above 800 °C. However, low damage tolerance, i.e., brittle material behavior with a propensity to rapid crack propagation, has limited the application of γ-TiAl. Any cracks introduced during manufacturing would dramatically lower the useful (fatigue) life of γ-TiAl components, making the workpiece surface’s quality from finish machining a critical component to product quality and performance. To address this issue and enable more widespread use of γ-TiAl, this research aims to develop a real-time non-destructive evaluation (NDE) quality monitoring technique based on acoustic emission (AE) signals, wavelet transform, and deep neural networks (DNN). Previous efforts have opted for traditional approaches to AE signal analysis, using statistical feature extraction and classification, which face challenges such as the extraction of good/relevant features and low classification accuracy. Hence, this work proposes a novel AI-enabled method that uses a convolutional neural network (CNN) to extract rich and relevant features from a two-dimensional image representation of 1D time-domain AE signals (known as scalograms), subsequently classifying the AE signature based on pedigreed experimental data and finally predicting the process-induced surface quality. The results of the present work show good classification accuracy of 80.83% using scalogram images, in-situ experimental data, and a VGG-19 pre-trained neural network, establishing the significant potential for real-time quality monitoring in manufacturing processes.

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Published in Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing, v. 6, issue 1, 18.

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Advanced Manufacturing Office’s (AMO) DE-FOA-0001980, Award Number DE-EE0009121/0000, project title “AI-Enabled Discovery and Physics-Based Optimization of Energy-Efficient Processing Strategies for Advanced Turbine Alloys”.