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A simple solution can mitigate traumatic brain injury

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. If soldiers wore military helmets that were one size larger and had thicker padding, it could reduce the severity of traumatic brain injury in the event of a blunt or ballistic impact. Michael King, a mechanical engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory teamed up with physicist Willy Moss to conduct computational simulations and experiments to test the effectiveness of various military and football helmet pads.

King:              You can map out the force compression or the stress-strain response of the foam and you can use that information to then feed the simulations, so that when you simulate what happens to the foam in an impact, the computer tells you the correct thing.

Narrator:       Using a compression test machine, they found that different types of impacts require different types of foam, and in the case of the military, the foams currently used are the best that they've seen...

King:              However, regardless of the type of foam, a thick pad always helped more and so if you were to take a current U.S. Army foam pad and make it just a little bit thicker, you can have a dramatic improvement in protection against impacts and concussion.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.