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Improved Low-Velocity Impact Performance of the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) at 17 ft/s through Optimization of Pad Material Response

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Technical Report,01 Mar 2018,31 May 2019

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CCDC Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground United States

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Soldiers may be subjected to potential head injury from blunt impact and ballistic threats in a wide variety of training and battlefield scenarios. The Advanced Combat Helmet ACH is designed to protect the head from injury against these threats. The ACH, consisting of the outer shell, suspension system, and retention system, protects against injury from blunt impact by limiting headform accelerations during impact testing at 10 fts to below 150 g. This study investigated the potential for performance enhancements at higher impact velocities through modification of the suspension system, which is the padding on the interior of the helmet. A low-velocity impact model of the ACH previously validated across several velocities and impact locations was used to study the influence of assumed pad response on the predicted peak headform acceleration during blunt impact testing at 17 fts. Headform accelerations were minimized to below 150 g for four of the five testing impact locations by optimizing the compressive response of the individual pads in the suspension system. Comparisons between manual and software-based optimization strategies are presented that illustrate the advantages of iterative optimization algorithms. This work provides a guideline for selecting ACH padding to limit the severity of head injury resulting from blunt force impact.

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