To reduce combat casualties, military helmets are designed to provide protection against projectiles. Modern combat helmets are constructed of relatively lightweight composite materials that provide ballistic protection to the soldier. The manufacture of most composite helmets is labor intensive and involves the manual application and smoothing of individual layers of reinforcement to a concave mold surface. The recently developed double diaphragm deep drawing thermoforming process turns as-purchased, flat-form composite materials into structurally efficient three-dimensional shapes. Using this process, prototype shells have been produced and subsequently tested structurally. The success of the outcome has been greatly assisted through the use of specialized virtual prototyping techniques to provide insight into the thermoforming process of the shells and subsequently their structural performance by accounting for the actual fiber orientations of those finished shells.

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