Technical Brief

The Use of Shear Thickening Nanocomposites in Impact Resistant Materials

[+] Author and Article Information
Jeremy N. Fowler, Anthony A. Pallanta, Norman J. Wagner

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,
University of Delaware,
Newark, DE 19716

Charles B. Swanik

Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology,
University of Delaware,
Newark, DE 19716

1Present address: Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC. P.O. Box 18300 Greensboro, NC 27419-8300.

Manuscript received August 9, 2014; final manuscript received February 21, 2015; published online March 18, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Barclay Morrison.

J Biomech Eng 137(5), 054504 (May 01, 2015) (6 pages) Paper No: BIO-14-1379; doi: 10.1115/1.4029982 History: Received August 09, 2014; Revised February 21, 2015; Online March 18, 2015

The work presented here demonstrates using a novel, field-responsive nanocomposite based on shear thickening fluids (STFs) as responsive protective materials with superior damping and energy adsorption properties. Peak forces and accelerations measured using an instrumented Instron™ drop tower demonstrate that STF nanocomposite prototypes and impact foam taken from a commercial football helmet have similar performance for low kinetic energy impacts. However, tests with STF nanocomposite samples exhibit significantly reduced peak acceleration and peak force for impacts above 15 J. Thus, the STF containing nanocomposite material provides improved energy adsorption upon impact as compared to the commercial foam. These tests suggest that STF nanocomposite materials have promising potential as novel energy dissipating components in personal protective equipment.

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Fig. 1

Shear stress versus shear rate of 61% by weight suspension of Nanosil silica particles in PEG 200. The inset graph shows viscosity versus shear stress. Note the abrupt increase in shear stress at the critical rate for shear thickening.

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Fig. 2

A prepared 22 mm STF pad sample. The total sample thickness is 33 mm, where 22 mm is the thickness of the STF portion of the sample and the remaining 11 mm is a polymer foam pad extracted from a Riddell revolution speed helmet.

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Fig. 3

Representative force versus deflection for commercial foam and 3 prototypes for 15 J impact. Total thickness for all pads is 33 mm.

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Fig. 4

Representative force versus deflection for commercial foam and 3 prototypes for 30 J impact. Total thickness for all pads is 33 mm.

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Fig. 5

Average peak force versus kinetic energy. The middle line represents the mean force required for sustaining a concussion while the upper and lower lines show the standard deviation limits. The criteria for the average concussion zone are taken from Viano [14].

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Fig. 6

Probability of injury versus kinetic energy for commercial foam and 3 STF nanocomposite prototypes. Risk of injury calculated from Eq. (1) using NCAA coefficients.

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Fig. 7

Average HIC versus kinetic energy for commercial foam and three prototypes. The upper solid line represents the average HIC required for sustaining a concussion while the lower line shows the standard deviation lower limit. The criteria for the average concussion zone are taken from Viano [14].



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