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Numerical Study of Head/Helmet Interaction due to Blast Loading

[+] Author Affiliations
Timothy G. Zhang

Bowhead Science and Technology, Belcamp, MD

Sikhanda S. Satapathy, Amy M. Dagro

US Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

Philip J. McKee

Dynamic Science, Inc., Aberdeen, MD

Paper No. IMECE2013-63015, pp. V03AT03A004; 11 pages
  • ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3A: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering
  • San Diego, California, USA, November 15–21, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5621-5
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Recent wars have heightened the need to better protect dismounted soldiers against emerging blast and ballistic threats. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) due to blast and ballistic loading has been a subject of many recent studies. In this paper, we report a numerical study to understand the effects of load transmitted through a combat helmet and pad system to the head and eventually to the brain during a blast event. The ALE module in LS-DYNA was used to model the interactions between fluid (air) and the structure (helmet/head assembly). The geometry model for the head was generated from the MRI scan of a human head. For computational simplicity, four major components of the head are modeled: skin, bone, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain. A spherical shape blast wave was generated by using a spherical shell air zone surrounding the helmet/head structure. A numerical evaluation of boundary conditions and numerical algorithm to capture the wave transmission was carried out first in a simpler geometry. The ConWep function was used to apply blast pressure to the 3D model. The blast pressure amplitude was found to reduce as it propagated through the foam pads, indicating the latter’s utility in mitigating blast effects. It is also shown that the blast loads are only partially transmitted to the head. In the calculation where foam pads were not used, the pressure in the skin was found to be higher due to the underwash effect in the gap between the helmet and skin, which amplified the blast pressure.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME



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