Abstract

Design of helmets used in contact sports has been driven by the necessity of preventing traumatic head injuries. Manufacturing standards and pass or fail grading systems help ensure that protective headgear can be manufactured to withstand large impacts, but design standards do no account for impacts resulting in subconcussive episodes and the effects of cumulative impacts on its user. Thus, it is important to explore new design parameters, such as the frequency-domain measures of transmissibility and mechanical impedance that are based on energy absorption from a range of impact loads. Within the experimentally determined frequency range of interest, transmissibilities above unity were found in the 0-40 Hz range with the magnitude characteristics varying considerably with impact location. Similar variability with location was observed for the mechanical impedance, which ranged from 9 N/m to 50 N/m. Additional research is required to further understand how changes in the components or materials of the components will affect the performance of helmets, and how they may be used to reduce both transmissibility and dynamic impedance.

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