Scholarly article on topic 'Effects of Helmet Surface Geometry on Head Acceleration in High Velocity Water Sports'

Effects of Helmet Surface Geometry on Head Acceleration in High Velocity Water Sports Academic research paper on "Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries"

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Abstract of research paper on Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, author of scientific article — Dustin Scheer, Ghodrat Karami, Mariusz Ziejewski

Abstract This paper explores the effects of helmet surface geometry on head acceleration in high-velocity water sports in an effort to help reduce the probability of concussion. An instrumented Hybrid III anthropomorphic head was fitted with a football helmet covered in a smooth control shell and with one covered in a shell with a designed geometry involving dimples and fin/channels. The head was dropped from a height of 73 inches (185.42cm) into a tank of water at varying impact angles and the peak accelerations were recorded and compared at each impact angle. High speed camera images were also taken to observe dynamic behavior of the water during the impact. The results showed an average reduction in acceleration over all angles of around 17% and a peak reduction in acceleration of 37% for impacts on the crown of the head. High speed camera analysis and acceleration analysis also revealed that fins were the dominant factor in acceleration reduction, but dimples did have a moderate effect. It was also determined that the reduction in acceleration created by the geometry could result in around a 30% reduction in the probability of concussion at the optimal impact angle. Overall, these results showed that helmet geometry can significantly reduce the linear acceleration a head undergoes in high velocity water sports. Further investigation is needed to see how geometry influences rotational acceleration and how to implement this geometry into a helmet design.

Academic research paper on topic "Effects of Helmet Surface Geometry on Head Acceleration in High Velocity Water Sports"

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Procedía Engineering 112 (2015) 485 - 490

Procedía Engineering

www.elsevier.com/locate/procedia

7th Asia-Pacific Congress on Sports Technology, APCST 2015

Effects of Helmet Surface Geometry on Head Acceleration in High

Velocity Water Sports

Dustin Scheer, Ghodrat Karami, Mariusz Ziejewski *

Department of Mechanical Engineering, North Dakota State Univeristy, Fargo, North Dakota, 58102

Abstract

This paper explores the effects of helmet surface geometry on head acceleration in high-velocity water sports in an effort to help reduce the probability of concussion. An instrumented Hybrid III anthropomorphic head was fitted with a football helmet covered in a smooth control shell and with one covered in a shell with a designed geometry involving dimples and fin/channels. The head was dropped from a height of 73 inches (185.42 cm) into a tank of water at varying impact angles and the peak accelerations were recorded and compared at each impact angle. High speed camera images were also taken to observe dynamic behavior of the water during the impact. The results showed an average reduction in acceleration over all angles of around 17% and a peak reduction in acceleration of 37% for impacts on the crown of the head. High speed camera analysis and acceleration analysis also revealed that fins were the dominant factor in acceleration reduction, but dimples did have a moderate effect. It was also determined that the reduction in acceleration created by the geometry could result in around a 30% reduction in the probability of concussion at the optimal impact angle. Overall, these results showed that helmet geometry can significantly reduce the linear acceleration a head undergoes in high velocity water sports. Further investigation is needed to see how geometry influences rotational acceleration and how to implement this geometry into a helmet design.

© 2015 TheAuthors.Publishedby Elsevier Ltd.This isanopen access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University Keywords: concussions, linear acceleration, helmet, head protection

* Corresponding author. Tel.: 701-231-7098; fax: 701-231-8913.. E-mail address: mariusz.ziejewski@ndsu.edu .

1877-7058 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University doi: 10.1016/j.proeng.2015.07.229

1. Introduction

Over 3.8 million sports-related Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occur annually in the United States (U.S.), although the amount and severity varies by sport [1]. Water sports such as water skiing or jet skiing have the potential to deliver a blow to the head at high speeds when the rider is thrown into the water. Therewere 446,778 reported sports-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms (ERs) in 2009, and 7% of those reported injuries were due to water sports [2]. While no helmet can prevent a TBI, this percentage could be reduced if there was a standard and an appropriate helmet designed to protect people who participate in water sport recreation. At this time there is no American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard for water sports, and the British Standards Institute (BSI) has standards only for white water recreation [3]. White-water recreation generally takes place at a relatively slow velocity and does not pose the same threats to injury as high speed water sports (wakeboarding, water skiing, etc.).

This paper seeks to determine how the geometry of a helmet affects the accelerations experienced by the person wearing the helmet in high-speed water sports. Helmets protecting against impact with rocks or other solid objects already exist, but little information can be found about helmets designed to prevent injury caused by impact with the water itself at high velocity. To reduce the risk for TBI, a helmet should reduce the acceleration (both linear and rotational) of the head. This could be accomplished by reducing the impact and drag forces applied to the helmet by the water.

2. Methods

Because the main focus of this experiment was on the external helmet geometry, a standard Riddell football helmet was placed on a Hybrid III head equipped with an accelerometer and was used as a base to which shells with different geometries were mounted. The interior padding of the helmet remained constant for each test run, so the only variable was the geometry. The resulting accelerations for each run and for each geometry were then analyzed to determine the geometry's effectiveness.

2.1. Apparatus

Two prototype shells were used in this experiment: a smooth control shell and a featured shell with designed surface geometry. Both shells were 3-D printed out of ABS-M30 from a model made using a 3-D scan of the Riddell helmet. The control shell was designed so that it was the same size that the featured shell would be without any features cut out of it and provided the baseline projected area with which to compare the effectiveness of the designed surface.

Fig. 1. (a) velcro placement; (b) mounted shell; (c) head coordinate system; (d) lateral plane angles; (e) sagittal plane angles

The featured shell had two design features to reduce drag: 1) fins/channels and 2) dimples. There were three fins/channels running from front to back at lateral angles of 0° and ±25° (see Fig. 1 for head coordinate system). All three fins had the same cross section and were recessed to prevent unnecessary rotational acceleration if the water were flowing perpendicular to the fin. These fins reduced drag by reducing the projected area and directing flow off of the helmet.

The dimple geometry of the shell was based off those used by Aoki, et al. [5], magnified for a sphere approximately the same size as the shell. The dimples reduced drag on the helmet by creating a turbulent boundary layer between the flow and the helmet surface which delayed flow separation and reduced pressure drag, similar to the mechanism used on a golf ball [4]. Based on research [4] [5] [6] [7], it was determined that dimples should be effective in reducing drag on a sphere by almost 30% compared to a smooth sphere. This reduction should result in a roughly 35% increase in the duration of impact.

The drop tower used for this experiment is pictured in Fig. 2(a), along with some relevant dimensions in Fig. 2(b). The tower consisted of a sled that was raised and dropped, running along vertical rails. The Hybrid III head and neck were mounted to the sled via an attachment that allowed the angle of the head relative to the vertical to be changed. See Fig. 2(c) for a more detailed view of the head/neck assembly.

Fig. 2. (a) drop tower assembly; (b) dimensions; (c) sled and head/neck assembly

The helmet used in testing was a Riddell Revolution IQ helmet, size XL, with the facemask removed to make sure that it did not interfere with any results by striking the water. A consistent fitting procedure was followed for each test:

1. Check Hybrid III head to ensure all fasteners are tightened properly.

2. Check football helmet pads, guards, and sensors.

3. Deflate inflatable pads, insert Hybrid III head into helmet, and carefully connect chin straps to predefined settings.

4. Inflate top inflatable pad to 5.80 PSI (40kPa).

5. Check level of head, lateral leveling across front of helmet, and anterior-posterior leveling of helmet.

6. Inflate cheek pads to 0.435 PSI (3kPa), and inflate rear pads to 1.52 PSI (10.5kPa).

7. Wait for 5 minutes and repeat 4-6 two times.

2.2. Data acquisition

A triaxial accelerometer, model 356A25, from PCB Piezotronics with a range of ±200 g peak, a sensitivity of 25 mV/g, and operating frequencies between 1-5k Hz was used inside the Hybrid III head. The CASIO High Speed Exilim EX-FH100 was implemented for recording using settings of 420 frames per second and a resolution of 224 x 168.

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Fig. 3. Views of impact surfaces at varying (a) sagittal and (b) lateral impact angles

2.3. Procedure

Each test was conducted using the drop tower. After each run the helmet was removed to replace the shell and was repositioned on the Hybrid III head (see Fig. 1) following the same procedures. The tank water was then refilled to a level of 19 inches (48.3 cm) and the procedure was repeated. Data was gathered for runs at impact angles of 0°, -15°, and -30° in the lateral plane and 60°, 75°, 90°, 105°, and 120° in the sagittal plane for both the control and featured shell geometries. Fig. 3 shows the orientations of the shells for each angle. All runs were dropped from a height of 73 inches (185.4 cm) from the surface of the water, which correlated to an impact speed of about 13.5 mph (6.04 m/s). The tests were repeated three times at each angle for each shell for a total of 48 tests.

3. Results and discussion

The first assumption made in this test was that the difference in mass between the control and featured shell was negligible because when added to the entire sled assembly, the difference was only 0.89%.

3.1. Sagittal plane

Fig. 4(a) compares the average peak linear accelerations for both the control and featured shells at various impact angles in the sagittal plane with uncertainties determined using a 95% confidence interval. As expected, the smooth symmetric geometry of the control shell yielded fairly consistent average acceleration values, ranging from 73 g to 88 g. The average accelerations for the featured shell followed a consistent trend with the minimum value of 51 g at 90° and increasing toward the minimum (75 g at 60°) and maximum (80 g at 120°) test angles. This trend is explained by the geometry of the shell. As seen in Fig. 3, the shell's optimal contact area was at a 90° impact angle because all three fins were directly in line with the impact direction and most of the dimples were active in drag reduction, but as the angle moved away from 90°, the effectiveness decreased due to both the outer fins and less

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Featured

Èt li Éé ii It

Impact Angle [°]

dimples being active.

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60 75 90 105 120 Impact Angle [°]

Fig. 4. (a) average peak linear acceleration and uncertainties for control and featured shells at varying sagittal impact angles; (b) reduction in

acceleration due to design at varying sagittal impact angles

Fig. 4(b) shows the percent reduction in linear acceleration due to the geometry at varying sagittal impact angles. The most effective impact angle was 90° with a 37% reduction in peak linear acceleration, decreasing to the minimum reductions of 12% and 9% as the helmet tilted away from 90°.

3.2. Lateral plane

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20% 15% 10% 5%

0 -15 -30

Impact Angle [°]

Fig. 5. (a) average peak linear acceleration and uncertainties for control and featured shells at varying lateral impact angles; (b) reduction in

acceleration due to design at varying lateral impact angles

Fig. 5(a) compares the average peak linear accelerations for both the control and featured shells at various lateral plane impact angles with uncertainties determined using a 95% confidence interval. Again as expected, the average control accelerations were very consistent, ranging from 76 g to 80 g. The featured shell's average accelerations followed the opposite trend as they did in the sagittal plane with the highest acceleration being at the middle of the test range of angles (72 g at -15°), and the lower two accelerations being at the outer edges of the range (64 g at 0° and 69 at -30°). The peak in acceleration at -15° is most likely due to the impact surface at that angle being covered mostly by dimples and the fact that the fins at that angle were tilted so they did not direct water in an optimal way.

Fig. 5(b) shows the percent reduction in linear acceleration due to the geometry at varying lateral impact angles. The least effective impact angle was -15° (8%), increasing to reductions of 14% at -30° and 15% at 0° as the helmet tilted away from -15°. It is interesting to note that the acceleration magnitudes for 90° sagittal and 0° lateral impact angles were different even though the impact areas were the same. This was most likely due to the flexion of the neck since the Hybrid III neck was designed to flex in the sagittal direction but not in the lateral direction.

3.3. High speed camera analysis

Images from the high speed camera were also analyzed. Fig. 6(a) compares high speed camera images for both the control and featured shells at a 90° sagittal impact, which was the most effective angle in the sagittal plane. The effect of the dimpled design features was very evident in the third frame, where the vapor trail behind the featured helmet was full of bubbles, while the control shell's vapor trail was relatively clear. This showed that the featured shell created a layer of turbulent flow around the head as it was designed to do. The effect of the fins was not as evident in the sagittal view because they were out of plane, but a thicker stream of bubbles can be seen at the front and rear of the featured helmet where the fins would be.

Fig. 6. (a) high speed camera images for control (top row) and featured (bottom row) shells at 90° sagittal impact angle; (b) high speed camera images for control shell (top row) and featured shell (bottom row) at 0° lateral impact angle

Fig. 6(b) compares high speed camera images for both the control and featured shells at a 0° lateral impact (which is equivalent to a 90° sagittal impact rotated 90° about the z axis). In this view the turbulence around the featured shell, caused by the dimples, was again clearly visible. The effectiveness of the fins can also be seen in the

second frame. The wake was relatively transparent in the control frame, but in the featured frame streams of bubbles could be seen moving upward at the location of the fins. This showed that the helmet was effective in moving water along those fins, which helped to reduce the impact force.

3.4. Injury reduction

The upper end of effectiveness (the 37% reduction at a 90° sagittal impact angle) is of prime importance in this proof of concept research because it would reduce the severity of an impact that would normally cause a TBI. According to a study conducted by Ziejewski and others [8] using NFL concussion data gathered between 19972002, the control shell peak linear acceleration of 80.8 ± 30.2 g would correspond to an 82% probability of concussion for a struck football player, while the featured shell peak linear acceleration of 51.0 ± 16.6 g would correspond to a 49% probability of concussion. This 37% reduction in acceleration, therefore, results in a about a 33% reduction in the probability of injury at those magnitudes of acceleration, which is significant.

4. Conclusions

The goal of this paper was to investigate whether or not the geometry of a water sport helmet would decrease the linear acceleration the head undergoes when impacting water at a high velocity. A test was conducted by dropping an instrumented Hybrid III head, outfitted with a control and featured helmet shell, into water from a height of 73 inches (185.4 cm) at various impact angles. The resulting accelerations were compared to determine the reduction in acceleration. High speed camera images were also analyzed for each angle. The results showed that the geometry presented did have reasonable effectiveness at reducing linear acceleration for all impact angles in the test range, with an overall average reduction of 17% and a peak reduction of 37% on the crown of the head. This shows that designed geometries can be used to reduce accelerations in high speed water impacts. It is difficult to know exactly how much each design feature contributed to the overall impact reduction, but the peak reductions occurring at the crown of the head in both planes suggest that fins are more efficient than dimples at reducing drag. This design geometry would be useful in full helmet designs, but further work would be necessary to optimize the design. Another area that should be investigated is how the helmet geometry affects rotational acceleration of the head.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Hanna Rohl, Eric Rieder, and Chris Schwarz for their contributions to the research presented. Funding was provided by the Mechanical Engineering Department of North Dakota State University, and the helmet shells were printed by GVL Poly.

References

[1] K. M. Guskiewicz and J. P. Mihalik, "Biomechanics of sport concussion: Quest for the elusive injury threshold," Exercise Sport Science, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 4-11, 2011.

[2] American Association of Neurological Surgeons, "Patient Information," American Association of Neurological Surgeons, December 2011. [Online]. Available: http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Sports-Related%20Head%20Injury.aspx. [Accessed 28 9 2013].

[3] British Standards Institute, "British Standards Institute," 31 May 2012. [Online]. Available: http://shop.bsigroup.com/en/ProductDetail/?pid=000000000030244585. [Accessed 25 11 2013].

[4] J. B. Bogdanovic-Jovanovic, Z. M. Stamenkovic and M. M. Kocic, "Experimental and numerical investigation of flow around a sphere with dimples for various flow regimes," Thermal Science, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 1013-1026, 2012.

[5] K. Aoki, K. Muto, H. Okanaga and Y. Nakayama, "Aerodynamic characteristic and flow pattern on dimples structure of a sphere," in FLUCOME 2009, Moscow, Russia, 2009.

[6] J. Choi, W.-P. Jeon and H. Choi, "Mechanism of drag reduction by dimples on a sphere," Physics of Fluids, vol. 18, 2006.

[7] S. Jeon, J. Choi, W.-P. Jeon, H. Choi and J. Park, "Active control of flow over a sphere for drag reduction at a subcritical Reynolds number," Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 517, pp. 113-129, 2004.

[8] M. Ziejewski, Z. Kou and C. Doetkott, "Biomechanical Factors in Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Based on American Football and Soccer Players," in The Impact of Technology on Sport II, New York, Taylor & Francis, 2008.