To address the lack of knowledge on the quantitative effects of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on the small occupant, 55 drop tower tests were conducted and the resulting responses were evaluated. A previous technical publication evaluated the results of drop tower testing of twelve models of blast energy-attenuating seats1. That study assessed the data recorded from three sizes of anthropomorphic test devices, or ATDs, including the Hybrid III 5th percentile female, the Hybrid III 50th percentile male, and the Hybrid III 95th percentile male. The forces, moments, and accelerations from the ATDs were compared to Injury Assessment Reference Values (IARVs) to validate the drop tower methodology and to evaluate the appropriateness of the IARVs developed for the three occupant sizes. The data review revealed that the maximum lumbar compression loads recorded by the ATDs was an effective “go/no-go” criteria for judging seat performance, and that the 5th percentile female ATD, or small occupant, was the most difficult to pass the corresponding lumbar compression IARV. Additionally, the 5th percentile female ATD exceeded its corresponding IARV for upper neck compression, leading to the motivation for this study; the data set from the previous technical publication was used in this study.

Historically, blast mitigation seats are designed to accommodate the average sized occupant, or 50th percentile male. Moving forward, there is a new emphasis on extending the protection afforded to the full military population, including the small female. The data presented in this paper seeks to determine the effect of PPE on the lumbar compression and upper neck loads for the small occupant.

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