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Combining viscoelastic properties and architecture to control the dynamic response of soft materials



Aaron M. Forster, Michael A. Riley


Blunt trauma and brain injury can occur during impacts at energies and velocities below those observed in ballistic and blast events. During low to medium velocity impacts, the shell prevents helps to prevent bone fractures and the padding helps limit the maximum linear or rotational acceleration of the head. Current test methods focus on the helmet and padding as a system (pad + shell) to quantify protective levels the equipment provides for the user. System level tests involve complicated loading paths, that make it difficult to determine the performance of the padding material within the helmet system to reduce the effects of impact. This lack of information complicates the process for improving helmet materials. NIST has recently developed a set of metrologies to quantify the impact mitigating properties of soft, non-linear materials under a broad range of impact energies and loading scenarios. These measurements can provide a more complete picture of material performance in order to guide incorporation of new materials into the helmet or padding system. This presentation will describe these metrologies and demonstrate their usefulness on several common energy absorbing materials.
Conference Dates
June 4-8, 2018
Conference Location
Greenville, SC, US
Conference Title
Society for Experimental Mechanics


Keywords: impact, foam, elastomer, impact mitigating materials, viscoelasticity, protection


Forster, A. and Riley, M. (2018), Combining viscoelastic properties and architecture to control the dynamic response of soft materials, Society for Experimental Mechanics, Greenville, SC, US (Accessed July 24, 2024)


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Created June 4, 2018, Updated March 6, 2023