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PPE Design Exploration though Human Body Models and the Generation of User-Adapted Armor Rapid Design Software (HBM GUARDS)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-22-C-0248
Agency Tracking Number: N22A-T017-0070
Amount: $239,871.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N22A-T017
Solicitation Number: 22.A
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-06-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-12-12
Small Business Information
3540 Clemmons Rd Ste 127
Clemmons, NC 27012-9914
United States
DUNS: 080313172
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Matthew Davis
 (336) 804-8068
Business Contact
 Matthew Davis
Phone: (336) 804-8068
Research Institution
 Southwest Research Institute
 Lance Frazer
6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, TX 78238-5166
United States

 (210) 522-6647
 Federally Funded R&D Center (FFRDC)

The modern United States Warfighter is equipped for combat with a sophisticated suite of personal protective equipment (PPE). Recent advances in material science and manufacturing have led to significant gains in the performance of PPE. However, the complexity of modern PPE and the variety of design criteria, certification requirements, and performance considerations requires a labor intensive and experimentally demanding design process. Adding to these difficulties are the lack of suitable and easily accessible human surrogates for translating the performance of PPE in testing to prediction of real-world performance for military personnel in theater. Digital engineering tools are poised to fill gaps in the current PPE design process and facilitate both expedited and more comprehensive design analyses. One key tool available in the digital design space to serve this purpose is the computational Finite Element (FE) Human Body Model (HBM). By leveraging detailed geometries of human anatomy and advanced material models, HBMs allow researchers to investigate the performance of equipment and devices at the human interface by directly predicting the human response at the global and tissue levels, providing a level of interrogation not possible in empirical testing. Another key digital engineering tool is probabilistic methodologies to facilitate uncertainty quantification and optimization. With current experimental processes for PPE design, quantities of interest (i.e. injury) are restricted to the response of single, or few test specimens. This can make it difficult and/or erroneous to quantify the true effect of design changes, as very subtle differences in human anatomy can accrete to a substantial change in PPE performance. Only by systematically accounting for natural anatomical variation and uncertainty can these design changes be properly quantified and interpreted. No stand-alone, user-friendly framework currently exists to allow engineers and designers to rapidly investigate the performance of new PPE designs and ideas. By leveraging HBMs and their injury prediction capabilities, the door is opened for the design and optimization of PPE to be truly “human-centered”. Design criteria, such as the deformation depth of clay, can be replaced by human-centered injury metrics. Therefore, the overarching objective of this program is to develop a digital design tool capable of rapid design exploration of PPE that couples a state-of-the-art family of HBMs with advanced probabilistic and optimization techniques. PPE design exploration through HBMs and Generation of User-Adapted Armor Rapid Design Software (GUARDS) will provide manufacturers with a much needed tool to both accelerate the PPE design cycle while also making performance more focused on relevant real world injury reduction. This will directly lead to PPE designs that are solely focused on operational suitability.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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