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Deep Neural Network Algorithm for CMC Microstructure Characterization and Variability Quantification



Microstructure characterization and variability quantification are crucial for understanding ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) mechanical behavior and deformation mechanisms across length scales. Traditionally, analyses of the micrographs obtained from microscopy are labor-intensive. However, with the vast improvement in computer vision (CV) and deep learning (DL), an automated algorithm can be designed to extract essential microstructure variability from micrographs which can then be used to construct a statistically representative volume element (SRVE). The DL-based algorithm spans the taxonomy of microstructure analyses, including 1semantic segmentation of microstructure constituents, secondary phases, matrix/fiber interface, and defects, and quantifying the microstructure variability in terms of probability distributions. In this work, C/SiNC and SiC/SiNC CMCs microstructures are semantically segmented through a deep convolutional neural network, followed by variability quantification through the implementation of a fully connected regression layer, hence forming a deep regression network. The deep regression network operates in a feedforward regime, in which the neuron output signal traverses through the network in a unidirectional manner. The weight tensor associated with each layer is updated through a backpropagation stochastic gradient descent approach. The input gray-scale image obtained through in-house scanning electron microscope and confocal microscope micrographs is augmented through affine transformations to increase the training set size, which is then processed through four strided convolutional layers. This compresses the image resolution by half at each layer while increasing the image depth by applying different filters (image encoding). The class activation maps (CAMs) corresponding to the applied filters highlight the key architectural features and assist with the semantic segmentation of the microstructure.


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