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Methodology to determine skull bone and brain responses from ballistic helmet-to-head contact loading using experiments and finite element analysis

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Author: Pintar, F.A. · Philippens, M.M.G.M. · Zhang, J. · Yoganandan, N.
Source:Medical Engineering and Physics, 11, 35, 1682-1687
Identifier: 480138
doi: doi:10.1016/j.medengphy.2013.04.015
Keywords: Ballistics · Ballistics · Finite element analysis · Head injury · Helmet protection · Defence, Safety and Security · Mechatronics, Mechanics & Materials · EBP - Explosions, Ballistics & Protection · TS - Technical Sciences


The objective of the study was to obtain helmet-to-head contact forces from experiments, use a human head finite element model to determine regional responses, and compare outputs to skull fracture and brain injury thresholds. Tests were conducted using two types of helmets (A and B) fitted to a head-form. Seven load cells were used on the head-form back face to measure helmet-to-head contact forces. Projectiles were fired in frontal, left, right, and rear directions. Three tests were conducted with each helmet in each direction. Individual and summated force- and impulse-histories were obtained. Force-histories were inputted to the human head-helmet finite element model. Pulse durations were approximately 4. ms. One-third force and impulse were from the central load cell. 0.2% strain and 40. MPa stress limits were not exceeded for helmet-A. For helmet-B, strains exceeded in left, right, and rear; pressures exceeded in bilateral directions; volume of elements exceeding 0.2% strains correlated with the central load cell forces. For helmet-A, volumes exceeding brain pressure threshold were: 5-93%. All elements crossed the pressure limit for helmet-B. For both helmets, no brain elements exceeded peak principal strain limit. These findings advance our understanding of skull and brain biomechanics from helmet-head contact forces. © 2013.