An explorative study into the mechanics of projectile impacts to the head

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Conference Proceeding
2016 IRCOBI Conference Proceedings - International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Injury, 2016, pp. 369 - 380
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There has been little research focused on the mechanics of high-velocity, low-mass projectile impacts to the head. The little work that has been conducted has focused solely on linear acceleration, despite the evidence linking rotational acceleration to the development of brain injury. The aim of this study was to explore the presence of rotational acceleration in projectile impacts and investigate the influence of impact location. A pressurised air cannon was used to project a BOLATM ball at 22 and 28 m.s-1 towards a BSEN 960:2006 headform positioned to elicit impacts at frontal and lateral locations. High-speed video and accelerometer measurements were used to investigate differences in contact duration, ball deformation and average linear and rotational acceleration during loading. Contact duration was found to be independent of impact location or speed. Greater ball deformation was observed in frontal impacts, despite no differences in time to maximum deformation. Average linear acceleration was observed to be greater during the loading phase in the frontal impacts then in the lateral impacts, potentially due to differences in surface geometry, resulting in differences in ball deformation. Average rotational acceleration was greater in lateral impacts potentially due to differences in the moments of inertia of the headform. Rotational acceleration was found to be higher than previously published injury thresholds for concussion and therefore a potentially important factor in projectile impacts, warranting further research.
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