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Experimental research was conducted on the effects of surface roughness on ultrasonic non-destructive testing of electron beam melted (EBM) additively manufactured Ti-6Al-4V. Additive manufacturing (AM) is a developing technology with many potential benefits, but certain challenges posed by its use require further research before AM parts are viable for widespread use in the aviation industry. Possible applications of this new technology include aircraft battle damage repair (ABDR), small batch manufacturing to fill supply gaps and replacement for obsolete parts. This paper aims to assess the effectiveness of ultrasonic inspection in detecting manufactured flaws in EBM-manufactured Ti-6Al-4V. Additively manufactured EBM products have a high surface roughness in “as-manufactured” condition which is an artifact of the manufacturing process. The surface roughness is known to affect the results of ultrasonic inspections. Experimental data from this research demonstrate the ability of ultrasonic inspections to identify imbedded flaws as small as 0.51 mm at frequencies of 2.25, 5 and 10 MHz through a machined surface. Detection of flaws in higher surface roughness samples was increased at a frequency of 10 MHz opposed to both lower frequencies tested.


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Journal of Defense Analytics and Logistics