Design of a helmet with an advanced layered composite for energy dissipation using a multi-material compliant mechanism synthesis

Vaibhav V Gokhale, Purdue University


Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are one of the most apprehensive issues today. In recent years a lot of research has been done for reducing the risk of TBI, but no concrete solution exists yet. Helmets are one of the protective devices that are used to prevent human beings from mild TBI. For many years some kind of foam has been used in helmets for energy absorption. But, in recent years non-traditional solutions other than foam are being explored by different groups. Focus of this thesis is to develop a completely new concept of energy absorption for helmet liner by diverting the impact forces in radial directions normal to the direction of impact. This work presents a new design of an advanced layered composite (ALC) for energy dissipation through action of a 3D array of compliant mechanisms. The ALC works by diverting incoming forces in multiple radial directions and also has design provisions for reducing rotational forces. Design of compliant mechanism is optimized using multi-material topology optimization algorithm considering rigid and flexible material phases together with void. The design proposed here needs to be manufactured using the advanced polyjet printing additive manufacturing process. A general and parametric design procedure is explained which can be used to produce variants of the designs for different impact conditions and different applications. Performance of the designed ALC is examined through a benchmark example in which a comparison is made between the ALC and the traditional liner foam. An impact test is carried out in this benchmark example using dynamic Finite Element Analysis in LS DYNA. The comparison parameters under consideration are gradualness of energy absorption and peak linear force transmitted from the ALC to the body in contact with it. The design in this article is done particularly for the use in sports helmets. However, the ALC may find applications in other energy absorbing structures such as vehicle crashworthy components and protective gears. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide a novel design of energy absorbing structure which reduces the risk of head injury when the helmet is worn.




Tovar, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

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