The effect of motorcycle helmet fit on estimating head impact kinematics from residual liner crush.

Research paper by Stephanie J SJ Bonin, John C JC Gardiner, Arzu A Onar-Thomas, Shihab S SS Asfour, Gunter P GP Siegmund

Indexed on: 12 Jul '17Published on: 12 Jul '17Published in: Accident Analysis & Prevention


Proper helmet fit is important for optimizing head protection during an impact, yet many motorcyclists wear helmets that do not properly fit their heads. The goals of this study are i) to quantify how a mismatch in headform size and motorcycle helmet size affects headform peak acceleration and head injury criteria (HIC), and ii) to determine if peak acceleration, HIC, and impact speed can be estimated from the foam liner's maximum residual crush depth or residual crush volume. Shorty-style helmets (4 sizes of a single model) were tested on instrumented headforms (4 sizes) during linear impacts between 2.0 and 10.5m/s to the forehead region. Helmets were CT scanned to quantify residual crush depth and volume. Separate linear regression models were used to quantify how the response variables (peak acceleration (g), HIC, and impact speed (m/s)) were related to the predictor variables (maximum crush depth (mm), crush volume (cm(3)), and the difference in circumference between the helmet and headform (cm)). Overall, we found that increasingly oversized helmets reduced peak headform acceleration and HIC for a given impact speed for maximum residual crush depths less than 7.9mm and residual crush volume less than 40cm(3). Below these levels of residual crush, we found that peak headform acceleration, HIC, and impact speed can be estimated from a helmet's residual crush. Above these crush thresholds, large variations in headform kinematics are present, possibly related to densification of the foam liner during the impact.