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Friction

Keywords

surface integrity, acoustic emission, auto encoders, condition monitoring, wear prediction

Abstract

Functional surfaces in relative contact and motion are prone to wear and tear, resulting in loss of efficiency and performance of the workpieces/machines. Wear occurs in the form of adhesion, abrasion, scuffing, galling, and scoring between contacts. However, the rate of the wear phenomenon depends primarily on the physical properties and the surrounding environment. Monitoring the integrity of surfaces by offline inspections leads to significant wasted machine time. A potential alternate option to offline inspection currently practiced in industries is the analysis of sensors signatures capable of capturing the wear state and correlating it with the wear phenomenon, followed by in situ classification using a state-of-the-art machine learning (ML) algorithm. Though this technique is better than offline inspection, it possesses inherent disadvantages for training the ML models. Ideally, supervised training of ML models requires the datasets considered for the classification to be of equal weightage to avoid biasing. The collection of such a dataset is very cumbersome and expensive in practice, as in real industrial applications, the malfunction period is minimal compared to normal operation. Furthermore, classification models would not classify new wear phenomena from the normal regime if they are unfamiliar. As a promising alternative, in this work, we propose a methodology able to differentiate the abnormal regimes, i.e., wear phenomenon regimes, from the normal regime. This is carried out by familiarizing the ML algorithms only with the distribution of the acoustic emission (AE) signals captured using a microphone related to the normal regime. As a result, the ML algorithms would be able to detect whether some overlaps exist with the learnt distributions when a new, unseen signal arrives. To achieve this goal, a generative convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture based on variational auto encoder (VAE) is built and trained. During the validation procedure of the proposed CNN architectures, we were capable of identifying acoustics signals corresponding to the normal and abnormal wear regime with an accuracy of 97% and 80%. Hence, our approach shows very promising results for in situ and real-time condition monitoring or even wear prediction in tribological applications.

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