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Structural Engineering and Mechanics
  Volume 48, Number 5, December10 2013 , pages 661-679

Finite element analysis of helmeted oblique impacts and head injury evaluation with a commercial road helmet
Fabio A.O. Fernandes and R.J. Alves de Sousa

    In this work, the safety performance of a commercial motorcycle helmet already placed on the market is assessed. The assessed motorcycle helmet is currently homologated by several relevant motorcycle standards. Impacts including translational and rotational motions are accurately simulated through a finite element numerical framework. The developed model was validated against experimental results: firstly, a validation concerning the constitutive model for the expanded polystyrene, the material responsible for energy absorption during impact; secondly, a validation regarding the acceleration measured at the headform\'s centre of gravity during the linear impacts defined in the ECE R22.05 standard. Both were successfully validated. After model validation, an oblique impact was simulated and the results were compared against head injury thresholds in order to predict the resultant head injuries. From this comparison, it was concluded that brain injuries such as concussion and diffuse axonal injury may occur even with a helmet certified by the majority of the motorcycle helmet standards. Unfortunately, these standards currently do not contemplate rotational components of acceleration. Conclusion points out to a strong recommendation on the necessity of including rotational motion in forthcoming motorcycle helmet standards and improving the current test procedures and head injury criteria used by the standards, to improve the safety between the motorcyclists.
Key Words
    biomechanics, finite element method, head injury, motorcycle helmet, oblique impact
Fabio A.O. Fernandes and R.J. Alves de Sousa : TEMA Centre for Mechanical Technology and Automation, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal

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