View Full Version : Helmets: summary of replies

Andrew Brammall
08-07-1996, 12:49 AM
Dear Biomch-L readers,

Here is a summary of the replies I received to my initial enquiry about research
into helmets. The responses I got were extremely helpful, and I must thank
everyone who replied to me. The work by Bishop on Ice Hockey helmets was
particularly useful.

We also found several references to African women carrying large loads (up to
70% of body weight) unsupported on the head, with small effects on oxygen
consumption. (Maloiy et al., Nature vol.319, p668-669, 1986). We also had
great fun impersonating "Turtle Neck" syndrome! Thanks again,

Andrew Brammall

Original posting:
Dear Biomch-L readers,

We are involved in a research project looking at the biomechanics of helmet
design, with a view to studying the effects of fatigue and weight distribution.
An initial trawl of the references has turned up many papers looking at helmet
impacts and so on, but not a lot of detail on load carriage. Does anyone have
any suggestions of references to look at, or good people to talk to? We will
post a list of replies as usual.

Thanks in advance,

Andrew Brammall

and replies:

From: Tim Smith
Subject: Re: helmet loads
To: Multiple recipients of list BIOMCH-L

Sorry no direct references for you, but try asking about 'turtle neck' in
military. Riding in Jeeps with steel helmets in WWII led the GIs to brace
themselves and their necks for the jolting acceleration of the vehicles.
When the helmets were removed and they drove off in the Jeep they would
anticipate the helmets inertia and stick their heads far forward, hence the
above phrase. Maybe you can get something there. Don't know of/if
associated neck injuries.
Tim Smith


An excellent person to,talk to is Dr. Jim Newman of Biokinetics and
Associates in Ottawa, Canada 2470 Don Reid Road 613-736-0384. Hope this is

David A. Dainty, Ph.D.
CHEDS Enterprises
85 Thorncliffe Park Drive
Suite 4007
Toronto, Ontario M4H 1L6

Dear Andrew,

We are busy with research slightly related to the field you talk
about. The following reference might point you in the right

Buhrman JR, Perry CE, "Human and mannekin Head/Neck Response to
+Gz Acceleration when encumbered by helmets of various weights."
Avaition, Space and Environmental Medicine, December 1994.

I'd like to hear you you progress.

Jaco Botes

__________________________________________________ __________
| |
| ERGOTECH Fax : (+27)/(0) 12 45-3914 |
| Ergonomics Consultants Voice : (+27)/(0) 12 428-0523 (W) |
| PO Box 7063 : (+27)/(0) 83 263-3788 (C) |
| Pretoria : (+27)/(0) 12 345-3013 (H) |
| South Africa |
| 0001 Internet : jaco@dendex.denel.co.za |
|_________________________________________________ ___________|

I know that Dr. King Liu, formerly at the University of Iowa, performed
some moment of inertia studies regarding helmets. Though these were all
in vitro experiments, the data could be useful for load carrying.

Hans Hoffman

Andrew -- I did some work in the past with one of the groups at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's Aerospace Medicine Research Labs.
They were working a few years ago on the effects of helmet-mounted
devices (cameras, etc.) on head/neck kinematics during flight and
during extraordinary events such as an ejection. I don't have any
specific references for you, but you can contact Louise Obergefell,
a scientist with AMRL, at 513-255-3665. -- Brian
Brian J. Doherty

Dear Andrew Brammall:

You may be interested by the following paper:

Gauthier, Martin, & Stark (1986). Adapted head- and eye-movement responses
to added-head inertia. Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine 57:336-342.

Jean Blouin
UMR CNRS Mouvement et Perception
Faculte des Sciences du sport
Universite de la Mediterranee
163, avenue de Luminy C.P. 910
13009 Marseille France
courrier electronique: blouin@laps.univ-mrs.fr
fax: (33) 91 17 22 52
page Web: http://laps.univ-mrs.fr

Dear Andrew:

Try to look up papers by these two authors ...

1. Petrofsy - he did work on the effect of the weight of an aircrew helmet
on a subject's head by evaluating neck emg activity.

2. Bishop, P.J. - he did work on the load distribution characteristics of
ice hockey helmets - he describes the effect of adding a facemask to overall
helmet weight and helmet cg distribution. He also gives some insight
regarding neck moments required to offset this change in helmet cg.

I can probably find the detailed references if you run into a roadblock.


Terry Smith
USC Head Protection Research Lab
Los Angeles, California


Don't know of published info specifically on helmets, but you might try Grand
Prix motor racing or perhaps Indycar racing. Some years ago (and maybe
currently) the drivers would wear straps from helmet to cockpit side to control
head movements from A/P and lateral G-forces. Neck pain in GP drivers
significantly more common than controls (Burton AK, Sandover J. Back pain in
Grand Prix drivers: a found experiment. Appl Erg 1987; 18: 3-8)
Kim Burton, Spinal Research Unit, University of Huddersfield, 30 Queen St,
Huddersfield, UK



I teach a fourth year biomechanics class, and the students
are required to complete a research paper on a topic of their
choice. One student looked into the function of the inner linings
of sports helments. The references she found for the paper are
listed on the web at url:


I also had another student looking into it about a year ago,
since I am interested in soft materials. It seems that there
is virtually nothing known about what the inner lining actually

My research interests are described on our web page, at


Good luck with your search.

Edwin DeMont