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Artificial Neural Network (ANN)-Based Predictive Tool for Estimating Lightning Damage in Composites



In this study, three artificial neural network (ANN) models are developed with back propagation (BP) optimization algorithms to predict various lightning damage modes in carbon/epoxy laminates. The proposed ANN models use three input variables associated with lightning waveform parameters (i.e., the peak current amplitude, rising time, and decaying time) to predict fiber damage, matrix damage, and through-thickness damage in the composites. The data used for training and testing the networks was actual lightning damage data collected from peer-reviewed published literature. Various BP training algorithms and network architecture configurations (i.e., data splitting, the number of neurons in a hidden layer, and the number of hidden layers) have been tested to improve the performance of the neural networks. Among the various BP algorithms considered, the Bayesian regularization back propagation (BRBP) showed the overall best performance in lightning damage prediction. When using the BRBP algorithm, as expected, the greater the fraction of the collected data that is allocated to the training dataset, the better the network is trained. In addition, the optimal ANN architecture was found to have a single hidden layer with 20 neurons. The ANN models proposed in this work may prove useful in preliminary assessments of lightning damage and reduce the number of expensive experimental lightning tests.


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