This paper presents the application of the artificial neural network into an atmospheric plasma spray process for predicting the in-flight particle characteristics, which have significant influence on the in-service coating properties. One of the major problems for such function-approximating neural network is over-fitting, which reduces the generalization capability of a trained network and its ability to work with sufficient accuracy under a new environment. Two methods are used to analyze the improvement in the network's generalization ability: (i) cross-validation and early stopping, and (ii) Bayesian regularization. Simulations are performed both on the original and expanded database with different training conditions to obtain the variations in performance of the trained networks under various environments. The study further illustrates the design and optimization procedures and analyzes the predicted values, with respect to the experimental ones, to evaluate the performance and generalization ability of the network. The simulation results show that the performance of the trained networks with regularization is improved over that with cross-validation and early stopping and, furthermore, the generalization capability of the networks is improved; thus preventing any phenomenon associated with over-fitting.
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