Brighton, United Kingdom -- A UK firm’s prototype polyurethane helmet liner is undergoing blunt trauma shock absorption tests thanks to funding from the US Army’s acquisition agency, PEO Soldier.
PEO Soldier is undertaking a 12-month testing programme to assess the blunt trauma characteristics of British firm D3O's Trust shock absorption helmet liner.
The company’s prototype helmet lining absorbs and dissipates energy released in a collision.
Its shock absorption liner is encapsulated in D3O’s Smart Skin technology, which is a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) film. The developer has protected the innovation, which it began researching with funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board.
The innovation uses a dilatant fluid. D3O engineered the polyurethane system so that in standard conditions the molecules flow freely rendering the material soft and flexible.
However upon impact, the molecules lock together to absorb the impact energy and reduce the force transmitted.
According to the company, the raw material used is “strain rate sensitive,” which means the greater the impact, the more the molecules react. Military helmets must meet stringent standards that regulate ballistic and blunt force trauma protection.
Soldiers in war zones are at risk of traumatic brain injury (a condition which can also manifest in mild form) and over seven years from 2006 a total of 31,000 British soldiers on combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered some form of the injury.
Previously, the company provided protective solutions to the US and Canadian ski teams competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics.