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The physics of explosives and blast helmets
Date:11/25/2008

elmet, and come down the other side to focus on the side of the head facing away from the explosion. There, facing away from the blast, it can combine with other shock waves wrapping around the outside of the helmet and produce even greater pressures than the side facing into the blast.

It is not yet proven whether this redistribution of blast pressure to the opposite side of the head substantially contributes to risk for brain injury, says Mott. There were certain simplifications in his models that made the computation more manageable but may not completely represent the true physics of an explosion. For instance, he modeled the head as a rigid body and not a slightly malleable one as it is in reality. And he modeled the helmet with no support system -- just a gap between the head and helmet.

Before testing different helmet configurations, says Mott, he and his colleagues will have to verify that they are accurately reflecting the physics. They expect the helmet support system to mitigate the effects of the focusing to some extent, but the experimental data support the argument that this focusing is present in the blast tests as well. If this turns out to be the case, the research may help suggest ways to redesign helmets with flanges or shields that would redirect shockwaves from nearby explosions away from the opposite side of the head.


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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert  

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