Predicting Defects in Laser Powder Bed Fusion using In-Situ Thermal Imaging Data and Machine Learning


Variation in the local thermal history during the Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) process in Additive Manufacturing (AM) can cause micropore defects, which add to the uncertainty of the mechanical properties (e.g., fatigue life, tensile strength) of the built materials. In-situ sensing has been proposed for monitoring the AM process to minimize defects, but successful minimization requires establishing a quantitative relationship between the sensing data and the porosity, which is particularly challenging with a large number of variables (e.g., laser speed, power, scan path, powder property). Physics-based modeling can simulate such an in-situ sensing-porosity relationship, but it is computationally costly. In this work, we develop Machine Learning (ML) models that can use in-situ thermographic data to predict the micropore of LPBF stainless steel materials. This work considers two identified key features from the thermal histories: the time above the apparent melting threshold (τ) and the maximum radiance (Tmax). These features are computed, stored for each voxel in the built material, and then used as inputs. The binary state of each voxel, either defective or normal, is the output. Different ML models are trained and tested for the binary classification task. In addition to using the thermal features of each voxel to predict its own state, the thermal features of neighboring voxels are also included as inputs. This is shown to improve the prediction accuracy, which is consistent with thermal transport physics around each voxel contributing to its final state. Among the models trained, the F1 scores on test sets reach above 0.96 for Random Forests. Feature importance analysis based on the ML models shows that Tmax is more important to the voxel state than τ. The analysis also finds that the thermal history of the voxels above the present voxel is more influential than those beneath it. Our study significantly extends the capability of using in-situ thermographic data to predict porosity in LPBF materials. Since ML models are fast, they may play integral roles in the optimization and control of such AM technologies.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


The authors are grateful for the data provided by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technologies and obtained during work funded by Contract No. DE-NA0002839 with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Keywords and Phrases

Additive Manufacturing; Binary Classification; Confusion Matrix; LPBF; Machine Learning

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Oct 2022