Bike and ski helmets are mainly made up of two layers: the external shell and the foam liner. The foam liner, typically made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or polypropylene (EPP), is asked to provide energy absorption in case of impacts. Standard helmet design requires the foam to maximize this energy absorption, thus achieving large deformations (up to 25% in compression) while maintaining the stress level below a threshold value. To optimize the helmet construction in terms of foam composition, structure and density, reliable numerical models are required, which in turn need to be fed with accurate experimental data. A characterisation of several foams was performed, including EPS and EPP having varying densities, under tensile and compressive stress states at varying strain rates. Typical mechanical parameters (elastic moduli and plateau stress in compression, Poisson's ratio) were compared with literature data and applicability of existing models to experimental results was discussed. A marked strain rate dependence – very important for impact applications – was accurately described using the Nagy phenomenological model. The foam microstructure was investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to assess structural changes before and after compression. The aforementioned mechanical features were then adopted in a rate-dependent constitutive law for crushable foams, to model the shock attenuation properties of helmets and validate the approach against available data. Finally, a microelectromechanical system based in-helmet wireless micro monitoring system was developed and inserted in a helmet prototype. The system is capable of acquiring impact load spectra, providing valuable information to investigate generic impacts with varying angles and energy. In particular, it can monitor the effect of repeated micro-impacts on the residual energy absorption characteristics of the foam.

Towards Safer Helmets: Characterisation, Modelling and Monitoring

ANDENA, LUCA;CAIMMI, FRANCESCO;LEONARDI, LIDIA;GHISI, ALDO FRANCESCO;MARIANI, STEFANO;BRAGHIN, FRANCESCO
2016

Abstract

Bike and ski helmets are mainly made up of two layers: the external shell and the foam liner. The foam liner, typically made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or polypropylene (EPP), is asked to provide energy absorption in case of impacts. Standard helmet design requires the foam to maximize this energy absorption, thus achieving large deformations (up to 25% in compression) while maintaining the stress level below a threshold value. To optimize the helmet construction in terms of foam composition, structure and density, reliable numerical models are required, which in turn need to be fed with accurate experimental data. A characterisation of several foams was performed, including EPS and EPP having varying densities, under tensile and compressive stress states at varying strain rates. Typical mechanical parameters (elastic moduli and plateau stress in compression, Poisson's ratio) were compared with literature data and applicability of existing models to experimental results was discussed. A marked strain rate dependence – very important for impact applications – was accurately described using the Nagy phenomenological model. The foam microstructure was investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to assess structural changes before and after compression. The aforementioned mechanical features were then adopted in a rate-dependent constitutive law for crushable foams, to model the shock attenuation properties of helmets and validate the approach against available data. Finally, a microelectromechanical system based in-helmet wireless micro monitoring system was developed and inserted in a helmet prototype. The system is capable of acquiring impact load spectra, providing valuable information to investigate generic impacts with varying angles and energy. In particular, it can monitor the effect of repeated micro-impacts on the residual energy absorption characteristics of the foam.
The Engineering of SPORT 11
traumatic brain injury (TBI); polymeric foams; numerical modelling; in-situ monitoring
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Towards Safer Helmets.pdf

accesso aperto

Descrizione: Versione finale
: Publisher’s version
Dimensione 465.52 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
465.52 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/994638
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 11
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 10
social impact