Response of an Impact Test Apparatus for Fall Protective Headgear Testing Using a Hybrid-III Head/Neck Assembly



A test method based upon a Hybrid-III head and neck assembly that includes measurement of both linear and angular acceleration is investigated for potential use in impact testing of protective headgear. The test apparatus is based upon a twin wire drop test system modified with the head/neck assembly and associated flyarm components. This study represents a preliminary assessment of the test apparatus for use in the development of protective headgear designed to prevent injury due to falls. By including angular acceleration in the test protocol it becomes possible to assess and intentionally reduce this component of acceleration. Comparisons of standard and reduced durometer necks, various anvils, front, rear, and side drop orientations, and response data on performance of the apparatus are provided. Injury measures summarized for an unprotected drop include maximum linear and angular acceleration, head injury criteria (HIC), rotational injury criteria (RIC), and power rotational head injury criteria (PRHIC). Coefficient of variation for multiple drops ranged from 0.4 to 6.7% for linear acceleration. Angular acceleration recorded in a side drop orientation resulted in highest coefficient of variation of 16.3%. The drop test apparatus results in a reasonably repeatable test method that has potential to be used in studies of headgear designed to reduce head impact injury.