Large format additive manufacturing (AM) is being adapted as a method of producing large structures in a short lead time and cost-effective way. With the growing advancement in AM techniques and application, machine monitoring and part qualification is highly needed. There has been leading research focused on the manufacturing development and feedstock material but minimum research on the structural health monitoring (SHM), defect detection, and nondestructive evaluation (NDE) for large format AM. Scanning large structure using conventional nondestructive testing (NDT) techniques, such as ultrasound or X-ray, and searching for potential defects can be very time consuming, challenging and cost prohibitive. Acoustic emission (AE) is a passive technique that can be used to monitor and locate defect progression in large structures by distributing group of sensors around the part. This research outlines the necessary procedure for implementing AE to AM as a reliability method. The topics this research will display are: (a) Wave propagation/velocity evaluation, (b) an AE attenuation characterization for the anisotropic printed structure and material, (c) background noise measurements of the extruder and gantry system, and (d) assist in optimal sensor selection and placement for monitoring large AM structures with demonstration. This work establishes the foundation for scaling up the SHM-AE system for the large additive platform.
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