Smart materials for helmets

Director of Studies: Dr Leon Foster (


Head impacts and the subsequent injuries sustained are an inevitable part of some sports and recreational activities. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, is the mildest and most common form of brain injury. At present there is some contention whether linear or rotational acceleration is the dominant injury mechanism behind mTBI, with recent studies highlighting the importance of rotational kinematics as an injury risk predictor. Traditional sports helmets are primarily designed to attenuate linear acceleration, with newer helmets incorporating systems to also mitigate rotational acceleration. Solutions to attenuate rotational accelerations are not diverse. This project will critically evaluate the design of existing helmets and explore enhancements through the tailoring of attenuating material layers. Physical testing and modelling methods will be employed with the aim of identifying key performance indicators of helmet systems based on current knowledge around brain injuries.


Helmet performance, injury prevention, impact acceleration attenuation, rotation acceleration


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