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Summary of responses RE: Safety Helmets

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  • Summary of responses RE: Safety Helmets

    August 30, 1994

    Here is a summary of responses to my request of
    August 10, 1994. I have attached a copy of the
    original request.

    Thank you to all those who responded!
    Kenneth Bryden


    I am initiating a project to examine the function of the
    inner lining (foam padding) of safety helmets used in sports.
    I am looking for studies that integrate the mechanical properties
    of the lining with its function in the helmet. Our intention is
    to apply current theories from Biology, on the mechanical design
    of natural shock absorbing systems, to improve on the usefulness
    of the inner lining.

    Kenneth Bryden
    Biology Department
    St. Francis Xavier University
    P.O. Box 5000
    Antigonish, N.S.
    B2G 2W5


    From: MX%"" 10-AUG-1994 16:13:58.00

    Hi Kenneth...
    You have certainly taken on a formidable project... I have just
    finished research on the effect of polystyrene liner density on
    the impact characteristics of bicycle helmets ... sounds like it
    is very similar to what you are going to be working on... I'll be
    very interested in learning about your appplication of current
    theories on natural shock absorbing systems ... (sort of the
    woodpecker theory of head protection!) ... I have also done some
    theoretical modelling using simple spring-dashpot systems to look
    at the effect of altering the characteristics of the liners...
    I hope things go well.. let me know if I can be of any
    assistance... in the meantime, you might want to look at these
    two papers.. I found them most useful for my work:

    1. Gale, A., Mills, N.J. Effect of polystyrene foam liner density
    on motorcycle helmet shock absorption. Plastics and Rubber
    Processing and Applications, vol 5, no. 2, pp. 101-108, 1985.

    2. Mills, N.J., Gilchrist, A. The Effectiveness of Foams in
    Bicycle and Motorcycle Helmets. Accident Analysis & Prevention,
    Vol. 23, nos. 2/3. pp. 153-163, 1991.

    Good Luck!

    Terry Smith
    USC Head Protection Research Lab
    Los Angeles, California
    ( ...... another Canadian a long way from

    From: MX%"elaine@mote.Berkeley.EDU" 10-AUG-1994 16:39:47.53
    Subject: Re: Safety Helmets in Sports


    I would be very curious to get a copy of what you receive from
    your posting. I am studying the mechanical properties of soft
    tissue in compression, statically and dynamically loaded. But of
    course there is little literature on the subject. Seeing what
    has been done on other materials, biologic or otherwise, can
    be very helpful.

    Have you contacted Werner Goldsmith at UC Berkeley regarding
    helmets? He has done a lot of work in that area. Unfortunately,
    I do not have his email address available to me right now.


    From: MX%"KIHEISE@LSUVM.SNCC.LSU.EDU" 10-AUG-1994 16:56:36.08

    I did some work in graduate school with a different kind of
    helmet protection - a ProCap. It is a polyurethane cap attached
    to the OUTSIDE of a football helmet (that's US & Canadian rules
    football - the one with the funny shaped ball). We never
    published an article on the work, but I did present a paper at
    ASB, 1991. If you would like any more info or a copy of the
    2-page abstract, let me know.

    Gary D. Heise, Asst. Prof., LSU, Dept. of Kinesiology


    I remember a couple of articles about the energy absorbing
    effects of the linings of bicycle helmets, I cannot recall where
    I saw the figures but it was something like a reduction in
    effective g force from 100 to 5.

    There is an article in the Australian magazine "Choice" October
    1992 comparing bicycle helmets using Australian Standard 2063.2 -
    1990. Let me know if you can't get it and I could send it to

    Chris Kelman
    Chief Medical Advisor
    Therapeutic Devices Branch

    From: MX%"" 11-AUG-1994 09:20:13.32

    Dear Kenneth,

    I appologize for not knowing his Internet address, but I
    recommend you contact Harold Alexander. He is an expert in the
    area of helmet injuries and has done alot of work similar to that
    which you discribed in your posting. He would be a great resource
    for you.

    You can reach him at:

    Harold Alexander, Ph.D.
    Department of Bioengineering
    Hospital for Joint Diseases
    301 East 17th Street
    New York, NY 10003

    voice (212) 598-6567
    FAX (212) 598-6096

    Best of luck,

    -Ellen Ross, Ph.D.
    From: (Mike Hendley)


    I am with a company whose expertise is in prevention of, and the
    mechanisms relating to, head and neck injury. We have
    approxiamtely 19 years experience in the development of
    standards, test procedures and product development in the area of
    head protection (namely helmets). We have also done some
    interesting work on crash test dummy development and other
    vehicle safety areas.

    Your email message is a little vague as to the area you are going
    to be focussing on. Could you please elaborate.

    Whatever your focus may be in head and neck protection, we can
    offer you some support with reference materials and related


    Mike Hendley (
    Biokinetics and Associates Ltd.
    2470 Don Reid Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1H 8P5
    (613) 736-0384
    (613) 736-0990