A deep learning approach for complex microstructure inference
Automated, reliable, and objective microstructure inference from micrographs is essential for a comprehensive understanding of process-microstructure-property relations and tailored materials development. However, such inference, with the increasing complexity of microstructures, requires advanced segmentation methodologies. While deep learning offers new opportunities, an intuition about the required data quality/quantity and a methodological guideline for microstructure quantification is still missing. This, along with deep learnings seemingly intransparent decision-making process, hampers its breakthrough in this field. We apply a multidisciplinary deep learning approach, devoting equal attention to specimen preparation and imaging, and train distinct U-Net architectures with 3050 micrographs of different imaging modalities and electron backscatter diffraction-informed annotations. On the challenging task of lath-bainite segmentation in complex-phase steel, we achieve accuracies of 90% rivaling expert segmentations. Further, we discuss the impact of image context, pre-training with domain-extrinsic data, and data augmentation. Network visualization techniques demonstrate plausible model decisions based on grain boundary morphology.
Bosch-Forschungsstiftung im Stifterverband