New carbon nanotube-based foam promises superior protection against concussions

Developed by University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers, a lightweight, ultra-shock-absorbing foam could vastly improve helmets designed to protect people from strong blows.

The new material exhibits 18 times higher specific energy absorption than the foam currently used in U.S. military combat helmet liners, as well as having much greater strength and stiffness, which could allow it to provide improved impact protection.

Physical forces from an impact can inflict trauma in the brain, causing a concussion. But helmet materials that are better at absorbing and dissipating this kinetic energy before it reaches the brain could help mitigate, or even prevent, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.


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