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United States ice hockey helmet standards were developed with an elastomeric surface for impact attenuation tests. These tests measure peak acceleration as a function of impact velocity. Recently, other standards have specified a flat steel impact surface, with a lower impact velocity (3.96 m/s as opposed to 4.50 m/s) to compensate for the greater hardness of the surface. It has been proposed that the U.S. standard be revised to use the steel impact surface, with the lower impact velocity.
A series of tests was conducted to determine whether tests performed with the proposed lower impact velocity on steel would yield peak acceleration results equivalent to test results with the higher impact velocity on an elastomeric surface. Tests were performed on three different models of ice hockey helmets. Impact tests were conducted at 4.50 m/s on the elastomeric surface, 3.96 m/s on steel, and 4.20 m/s on steel. Results are compared for the three impact schemes.
hockey, helmets, impact, shock attenuation, sports equipment, protective equipment, protective headgear
Staff Engineer, Intertek Testing Services, Cortland, NY
Professor Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA