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Peer Reviewed Research

Artificial Neural Network Study:


Protective Textiles for Defense Applications
By Gurumurthy B. Ramaiah and Radhalakshmi Y. Chennaiah, Central Silk Technological Research
Institute (CSTRI); and Gurumurthy K. Satayanarayanarao, Bangalore University
Abstract
Kevlar is a well-known component of bulletproof vests and bulletproof facemasks. Helmets reinforced
with Kevlar fabric offers 25% to 40% better fragmentation resistance than comparable steel helmets. An
artificial neural network study on properties of Kevlar 29 fabric is reported in this paper. The objective
is to compare physical models and artificial neural network models, since the latter have proved to be a
powerful tool to model predictive non-linearities and complexities. Fragment simulation projectile data for
ballistic penetration measurements at 244 m/s was used to demonstrate the modeling aspects of artificial
neural networks. Predicted values gave excellent correlation with experimental values of penetration depth
and dissipated energy. The results prove the superiority of neural network models used in this study over
theoretical models.
Key Terms
Anti-ballistics, Backpropagation, Cut Resistant, Expert System, Fragment Simulation, Kevlar,
Neural Networks, Protective Textiles, Puncture Resistant

Introduction

Previous Work

Body armor consists of a ballistic vest and plate


that provide protection against bullets and fragmentation at velocities above 244 m/s. Until now,
ballistic armor has been evaluated for its ability to
provide ballistic protection using destructive tests
under simulated conditions. Modern concealable
body armor provides protection at different levels
designed to defeat most common low- and mediumenergy handgun rounds. Body armor designed
to defeat rifle fire is of either semirigid or rigid
construction, typically incorporating materials made
from different configurations of fibers, yarns, and
constructions. Typically, concealable body armor is
constructed of multiple layers of ballistic fabrics.

Composites containing para-aramid possess


enhanced material properties for fabric ballistic
penetration resistance after treatment with colloidal
shear thickening fluids (STFs) under conditions of
low velocities and small target sizes.15 Multi-objective optimization of composite laminate analysis
based on classical laminate theory and prediction
of analysis output using radial basis function neural
networks (RBFNN) has been explored.16 However, a
study on the properties of single layer para-aramid
fabrics using ANNs is a new idea explored in this
paper by building a predictive model enabling
design, development, and diversification of these
protective fabrics.

Data on single layer fabrics made from DuPont


Kevlar 29 (para-aramid) are used in this study as
model inputs and outputs. Theoretical models were
reviewed and artificial neural network (ANN) model
creation was proposed for determining performance
parameters like penetration depth and dissipated
energy. In addition, outputs from the ANN model
were compared with specimen data. The results
of these comparisons gave excellent correlation
between specimen data and network predicted data.

Impact Property Models

Background information on artificial neural network methodology and application is given in the
following references.1-14

Regression models (such as ANNs) have been


proposed by Weaver.17 Nested neural networks
(NNNS) were used to develop the regression model.
Case studies using NNNS indicate a robust methodology applied to ballistic missile defense systems
(BMDS) studies. However, applying backpropagation neural networks for predictive study and
analysis is a new approach.

Theoretical Models
Pressure waves can injure neural cells.18 How impact
pressure waves reach the brain and cause injury are
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Peer Reviewed Research

an open question. In theoretical models, it is important to determine how this physical mechanism
works so that exposure risks can be assessed and
effective preventive measures can be implemented.
Many theoretical models were proposed. A simple
estimate of the peak pressure p (kPa) at distance r
(cm) from the bullet path is given by Eq. 1.
p|

10 E
d 4S r 2

Eq. 1

E is the kinetic energy (J) of the bullet, and d (cm) is


the penetration distance.
According to external ballistics of a bullets path,
which can be determined by several formulas, the
simplest Newtonian expression (Eq. 2) is used to
determine E.
E = 1/2 mv2

mation depth at which half of the impact energy is


available to do work creating forces and pressures
in behind armor tissues. This model is physically
reasonable.17 It has the expected monotonic and
limiting behaviors, giving zero work for body armor
that stops the projectile with zero armor deformation and approaching the maximum possible work
as the armor deformation becomes very large.
However, Eq. 3 does not take into account the effect
of protective materials on injury to the subject.

ANN Study
Model Variables
Various model variables used for the artificial neural
network model in this study are shown in Fig. 1.

Eq. 2

m is the mass and v is the velocity of the projectile.


Note that, in Eq. 1, the pressure wave magnitude
decreases as the square of the distance from the
bullet path, so accurate distance measurements are
necessary. Eq. 1 is approximate. Another simple
model of behind armor mechanical work, W, as a
function of armor deformation, d, is given in Eq. 3.

1
W ( d ) = E 1 
3
d

1 + d
0

Eq. 3

E is the impact energy (J) of the bullet, and d0 (cm)


is an adjustable parameter that sets the armor defor-

Fig. 1 Neural network model.

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Specific modulus (cN/Tex): A materials


property defined as the elastic modulus per mass
density of a material. It is also known as the
stiffness to weight ratio or specific stiffness. High
specific modulus materials find wide application
in aerospace applications, where minimal
structural weight is required.
Specific tenacity (cN/Tex): Force required to
break the fabric during tensile testing is called
tenacity. Specific tenacity is the force divided by
the linear density of the material at break.
Density (g/cm3): Fiber density is the ratio of
mass to volume of the fiber. Fiber density is
determined by using a psychometer, density
balance (Archimedes principle, ASTM D3800),
or density gradient method (ASTM D1505).
Impact velocity (m/s): The velocity of a
projectile or missile at the instant of impact.
This is also known as the striking velocity.
Penetration depth (cm): Penetration depth is a
measure of how deep the projectile or missile
can penetrate into a material.
Dissipated energy (J): The energy dissipated
through protective cloth layers due to projectile
or missile impact.

Data Collection and Processing


Specimen data from a series of test targets
composed of various para-aramid fabrics with different configurations were obtained and processed.
Specimen data from similar experiments performed
at v = ~244 m/s with 5.08- 5.08-cm clay-witness
backed targets were used.15 Material properties of
para-aramids from similar sources were collected
and used as model inputs. Specimen data from ballistic experiments, conducted using a smooth-bore
helium gas gun with 0.22 caliber-like NATO

Peer Reviewed Research

inputs and outputs. Input signals


propagate through the network
layer-by-layer (Fig. 2), producing a
response at the network output. This
phase of backpropagation is called
the forward phase. The output of
the network is compared with the
target response, generating error
(E) signals. These E signals propagate in a backward
direction through the network. In this phase, the
network weights are adjusted to minimize the sum
of squared errors (Eq. 4).

Fig. 2. A simple backpropagation neural network.

(North Atlantic Treaty Organization) standard


fragment simulation projectiles (1.1 g, chiselpointed metal cylinder) were selected for this study.
Time of flight chronograph measurements were
used to determine impact velocities and dissipated
energies for fixing neural network targets. One
critical issue when using neural networks is how to
select appropriate samples and network architectures. If sample information criteria are not clear,
over-parameterized models may result, leading
to overfitting and poor ex-post forecast accuracy.
Moreover, since model selection criteria depend on
sample information, their actual values are subject
to statistical variations. Here the sample information was subjected to statistical tests (e.g., mean and
standard deviation) for retaining model accuracy at
its input level. This avoids the possibility of satisfactory results due to chance rather than to any merit
inherent in the model. The sample data and their
information representing a true population are
shown in Table I.

1
E= (ti yi)2
2i

Eq. 4

ti is the i th desired output (target) and yi is the i th


output. The weights were updated using the delta
function12 and each hidden layer was appropriately
updated with the activation function. In this study,
the training data was exposed to the neural network
with epoch-based training and the weights were
automatically updated. The architecture of the neural network consisted of eight inputs, four hidden
neurons, and two output neurons (Fig. 3). The input
and output layers consisted of neurons with the
linear activation function (Eq. 5).

I (v ) = v

Eq. 5

The hidden layer consisted of the sigmoid activation


function (Eq. 6).

Backpropagation Algorithm
Backpropagation is typically used to generalize a
wide variety of problems. These training methods
are called supervised training because they use both
Table I.
Input and Output Ranges of Data Set
Variable

Minimum

Maximum

Mean

SD

Unit

T1

T2

T1

T2

T1

T2

T1

T2

Specific modulus

Input

3800

3900

3850

4150

4000

4050

3978.4

3954.17

3966.2

85.84

17.38

74

cN/Tex

Specific Tenacity

Input

182

190

190

198

198

198

192.24

195.5

192.8

4.7

2.88

3.89

cN/Tex

Density

Input

1.42

1.42

1.43

1.46

1.45

1.46

1.44

1.44

1.44

0.01

0.05

g/cm3

Extension to Break

Input

3.6

3.8

3.9

4.3

4.2

3.96

3.96

0.15

0.14

0.05

Modulus

Input

54

54

54

58

58

56

55.4

55.3

55

1.29

1.63

GPa

Tenacity

Input

2.4

2.5

2.6

2.9

2.9

2.92

2.68

2.65

2.74

0.138

0.164

0.15

GPa

Sample Weight

Input

1.9

5.6

1.9

13.9

13.9

13.9

11.52

11.28

9.68

3.644

3.63

5.87

g/cm2

Impact Velocity

Input

242

244

243

289

253

259

250.96

249.5

249.4

9.91

4.18

6.66

m/s

Penetration Depth

Output

0.673

0.673

0.673

2.34

2.12

1.72

1.263

1.25

1.312

0.469

0.49

0.455

cm

Dissipated Energy

Output

25.1

26

28

32.9

32.9

32.9

29.556

29.63

30.34

2.100

2.32

2.37

T1=Training set, T2=Testing set, V=Validation set, SD=Standard Deviation

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Peer Reviewed Research


1
1 + e  av

Eq. 6

a is the slope parameter of the sigmoid activation


function. Before modeling, the data base is divided
into three parts (sets): training set, validation set
(to prevent model overfitting), and test set. First,
the relationship of variables between para-aramid
material properties and performance characteristics
must be understood and analyzed to eliminate faulty
data points. A model can then be constructed based
on these data. Four main techniques were used to
identify the faulty data points.

Basic (maximum, minimum, and correlation)

Structured (analysis of similar input vectors)

Multivariate (principal component analysis)

Learnt detection (model-based analysis)

According to these relationships, and after


filtering the data base and choosing the most significant variables, the results are presented in Table I.
These variables are the input and output vectors of
the model. Several configurations were tested and
the best is given in the neural network structure diagram (Fig. 1). The simulation was carried out using
36 data numbers which is distributed as follows and
would represent a true sample of the population:
25 data numbers for training set, five data numbers
for validation set, and six data numbers for test set.

Results and Discussion


After training, network capacity was examined
using other data in the test set. The network was presented new examples, which also contained output
information (as in training). The procedure corresponded to the training phase, but the data were not
used for learning. In this test, the error generated
by the network was observed. If this was too large,
training was continued. If the results achieved by

Fig. 4. Best linear fits for testing set dissipated energy.

the network were satisfactory, they were used for


problem solving. The data used here no longer contain desired output values. The network now only
consists of input information. This action on the
network is called test. Optimal values for momentum factor and learning rate were 0.3 and 0.1.
An important consideration is neural network
performance in comparison with measured results.
Figs. 3 and 4 show prediction model performance,
with excellent correlation between predicted and
measured values.
Network architecture configuration 8-4-2
(input neurons, hidden neurons, and output neurons
respectively) was chosen after carefully observing
Bayesian factors (e.g., number of effective parameters and error terms from model optimization
studies). Prediction models and their test data errors
confirm the reliability of the methodology. The
output parameters of training with Bayesian regularization, with respect to epoch number, indicated that
training of neural networks can be achieved quickly
The errors reported on the validation set of the
Training SSE = 1.77658

10
Tr-Blue

I (v ) =

10

10

SSW

Squared Weights = 0.132625

10

# Parameters

Effective Number of Parameters = 1.60802


40
30
20
10
0

Fig. 3. Best linear fits for testing set penetration depth.

78 | AATCC Review January/February 2011 www.aatcc.org

8
16 Epochs

10

12

Fig. 5. Bayesian information on validation set.

14

16

Peer Reviewed Research

neural network model was sum squared error (SSE)


of 1.78, and the effective number of parameters is
1.608, with the neural network being trained quickly
at 16 epochs (Fig. 5). This confirmed the effectiveness of the methodology followed.

Conclusions
The objective of this study was to develop a
model based on backpropagation neural networks
for predicting dissipation energy and penetration
depth during firing and resistance offered by single
layer bulletproof vests made from para-aramid
fibers. The developed prediction model in this study
gave excellent correlations with the samples selected.
The optimized networks can be used for design
and development of ballistic protection fabrics
without further destructive tests. This therefore
represents a very significant development in ballistics simulations. Performance of the developed
model, strengthened with the Bayesian information criterion coupled with the gradient descent
algorithm, overcomes the problem of determining
the optimal number of neurons in hidden layer and
shows satisfactory results. A mixed neural network
would create a knowledgebase on current materials.
Studying new designs may lead to improvements
over existing ones.
The present study proposes to overcome the
limitations of conventional fiber science and theoretical analytical models by analyzing ballistic fabric
properties using newer techniques and methods of
simulation to evaluate their structural behavior
during ballistic tests.

Acknowledgements
The authors wish to thank the CSIR-India, Central
Silk Board/Central Silk Technological Research
Institute, the Ministry of Textiles, the Indian Government, and K. S. Gurumurthy, Department of
Electronics and Communication Engineering, Bangalore University for providing financial assistance
to carry out this research.

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Author
Gurumurthy B. Ramaiah has an M.Tech degree in
textiles and has worked in both academia and industry. Ramaiah is currently lecturer in the Department
of Fashion Technology, Acharya Institute of Graduate Studies, Bangalore, India. He has authored
books, presented research papers at international
conferences, and has received several awards
for his work.
Gurumurthy B. Ramaiah, Dept. of Fashion and
Apparel Design, Oxford College of Science,
#235/2, 2nd D Cross, 6th Main, III Block, III Stage,
Basaveshwaranagar, Bangalore-560079, India;
phone +91 89 51440759; brgmurthy@live.com.

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