TPE Honeycomb Materials System for ACH Helmet Pads
TIAX proposes the continued development of a pad system for the Advanced Army Helmet (ACH) based on the use of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) honeycomb structures optimized through materials characterization, simulations of system behavior, and dynamic testing. In the Phase I program, TIAX developed and demonstrated a pad concept based on the notion that the directionality of the honeycomb structure improves the impact performance of the pads. Test results clearly showed that TIAXs TPE honeycomb pad concept can be effective for use in helmets for blunt impact resistance. The TIAX prototype pad outperformed all of the existing pads that it was compared against. TIAX proposes to continue the optimization of the prototype pad system in Phase II with an emphasis on improving crush performance while reducing the weight of the pads. Complete pad systems will be integrated into the ACH and put through standard test protocols for evaluation of impact performance as well as shock tests and human factors evaluations. Once the design has been optimized, TIAX will work with commercialization partners to develop cost-effective methods for manufacturing pad sets. The design development and testing work that occurs in Phase II is critical to bringing the proposed pad technology to a point at which it is ready for field testing and manufacturing scale-up as part of a Phase III effort. At the end of Phase II, TIAX expects to have both a design and manufacturing process in place for large-scale manufacturing of pad sets for the Army. At that time we will also explore the use of the pad system in other military headgear as well as in sports helmets (e.g., football, baseball, skiing, skateboarding) and motorcycle helmets.
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