Implementation of Fiber Phased Array Ultrasound Generation System and Signal Analysis for Weld Penetration Control
The overall purpose of this research is to develop a real-time ultrasound based system for controlling robotic weld quality by monitoring the weld pool. The concept of real-time weld quality control is quite broad, and this work focuses on weld penetration depth monitoring and control with laser ultrasonics. The weld penetration depth is one of the most important geometric parameters that define the weld quality, hence remains a key control quantity. This research focuses on the implementation and optimization of the laser phased array generation unit and the development of signal analysis algorithms to extract the weld penetration depth information from the received ultrasonic signals. The system developed is based on using the phased array technique to generate ultrasound, and an Electro-Magnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) as a receiver. The generated ultrasound propagates through the weld pool and is picked up by the EMAT. A transient FE model is built to predict the temperature distribution during welding. An analytical model is developed to understand the propagation of ultrasound during real-time welding and the curved rays are numerically traced. The cross-correlation technique has been applied to estimate the Time-of-Flight (ToF) of the ultrasound. The ToF is then correlated to the measured weld penetration depth. The analytical relationship between the ToF and penetration depth, obtained by a ray-tracing algorithm and geometric analysis, matches the experimental results. The real-time weld sensing technique developed is efficient and can readily be deployed for commercial applications. The successful completion of this research will remove the major obstacle to a fully automated robotic welding process. An on-line welding monitoring and control system will facilitate mass production characterized by consistency, high quality, and low costs. Such a system will increase the precision of the welding process, resulting in quality control of the weld beads. Moreover, in-process control will relieve human operators of tedious, repetitive, and hazardous welding tasks, thus reducing welding-related injures.