A Materials Approach in the Development of Multi-Threat Warfighter Head Protection
ARMY RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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The United States has historically capitalized on material and process advances to develop improved ballistic head protection for the warfighter. This also includes innovations in the design of various helmet elements based on careful consideration of the environment, patterns of use, interfacing with other equipment e.g., weapons, body armor, and possible threat scenarios. As such the U.S. helmet bas evolved in both shape, composition, and manufacture, and this same trend driven largely by contemporary and anticipated demands - has provided an excellent opportunity to consider new levels of protection and complexity. Increased ballistic mass efficiency has traditionally been the most significant factor, but advances in materials and computational tools have made possible new approaches to address helmet pad and suspension systems, as well as higher levels of ballistic resistance through hybridization. Helmet shell material and design, padding, and suspension have significant influence over several areas including shock resistance due to a non-penetrating fragment or bullet, or to a blast event, as well as comfort and thermal management. This paper provides an overview of novel material, processing, and concept development to provide a set of both modular and integrated tools and technologies for tailoring helmet performance.
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Protective Equipment