FEA of oblique impact tests on a motorcycle helmet

Nigel Mills, S Wilkes, S Derler, A Flisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)


In accidents, motorcycle riders full-face helmets often make oblique impacts with road surfaces. Finite element. analysis was used to predict the,rotational and linear acceleration of a Hybrid II headform, representing a motorcyclist's head, in such impacts, considering the effects of friction at the head/helmet and helmet/road interfaces. Simulations of the oblique impact test in British Standard BS 6658 were validated by comparison with published data, This showed that COST 327 experimental data was largely determined by the friction coefficient (0.55) between the helmet shell and abrasive paper, and hardly affected by that between the head and helmet Slip was predicted at the shell/paper interface throughout the impact, due to the high angular inertia of the helmet, and the normal force remaining below 3.5 kN. Simulations or more severe motorcycle helmet impacts explored the effects of impact site and direction, impact velocity components, helmet fit and the scalp. In these impacts, the higher velocity component normal to the road caused high frictional forces on the helmet shell, eventually causing it to roll on the road. The peak headform rotational accelerations, at some impact sites, were potentially injurious. The most effective method of reducing head rotational acceleration could be a reduction in the linear acceleration limit of the helmet standards. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-925
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Impact Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Finite element analysis
  • Motorcycle helmet
  • Oblique impact


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