Design of Facial Impact Protection Gear for Cyclists


The concept of facial impact protection mask for cyclists is proposed in response to increased participation in cycling and the need for injury prevention. The research aims to develop an approach for design of facial impact protection gear to reduce the risk of severe injury. Impact test equipment and procedure, face surrogate and protection material performance criteria are developed. Three groups of protective materials – rigid crushable, semi rigid, and soft cushion foams are tested and assessed according to criteria. The criteria are linked to measures of the risk of facial and brain injuries: HIC (Head Injury Criterion), peak deceleration, Face-bone damage and energy absorption. The impact energy is simulated by a drop test using a 48 mm-radius-steel hemispherical impactor, with a weight of 4.63 kg similar to that of headform J specified in AS/NZS standard. The drop-height is 1500 mm, and the linear deceleration force of the impactor is recorded and used to establish the performance of the materials. The HIC is used to predict the risk of brain injury, whereas the developed face surrogate is used to assess facial bone injury. A 5.4 m/s facial impact to the unprotected-face of a cyclist can result in the risk of severe facial bone fracture and mild brain injury. The impact test results for rigid foam protection of 40 mm thickness shows no densification (bottom out) and absorbs the impact energy without damage to the Foam-bone of the face surrogate. At 20 mm thickness, rigid polyurethane foams performed best with Foam-bone damage ranging from 15.1% to 20.5%. Other materials with thicknesses of 20 to 28 mm showed Foam-bone damage between 21.8% and 35.1%. The HIC values ranged from 267 to 522, with memory foams and expanded polystyrene foam having the lowest values. Peak deceleration ranged from 71 g to 105 g for the materials tested. It is concluded that the impact energy can be dissipated by the protection material thereby reducing the risk of severe facial injury to the protected area.

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S. Monthatipkul, P. Iovenitti and I. Sbarski, "Design of Facial Impact Protection Gear for Cyclists," Journal of Transportation Technologies, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2012, pp. 204-212. doi: 10.4236/jtts.2012.23022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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