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Brain injury prevention research wins funding

15 January 2019

A sample of material designed using computer simulations that has demonstrated promising mechanical performance.
A sample of material designed using computer simulations that has demonstrated promising mechanical performance.

3D-printed material developed by engineering researchers receives NFL backing.

A team of researchers from the School of Engineering have been rewarded for winning the National Football League’s (NFL) most recent crowdsourcing initiative, HeadHealthTech Challenge V, which aims to improve the ‘head health’ of American Football players.

Having already been part of a team awarded $250,000 by Head Health Challenge III in 2015, they have now been granted a further $116,155, becoming the first recipients of this grant from outside the United States.

The team used complex computer simulations to design C3, a multi-layered, elastic helmet liner with high energy absorbency. They now propose to combine their energy-absorbing structures with their emerging knowledge of visco-elastic material behaviour to create a helmet liner that is effective over a greater spectrum of impact energies.

Project leader and Senior Lecturer, Dr Peter Theobald said, "Computational modelling allows us to analyse the performance of a wide range of geometries, to identify that which has the potential to protect the head against a greater breadth of collision speeds than current helmets. Our skills in additive manufacturing now enable us to build these complex designs, making these high-performance materials a reality."

"The Tech Challenge series continues to champion creative, innovative ideas, like those of Cardiff’s, to advance athlete safety," said Jeff Miller, the NFL’s EVP of health and safety initiatives, in a statement.

Dr Barry Myers, the director of innovation at Duke CTSI and consultant to the NFL Players Association, added, "Our team at Duke CTSI is excited to work with Cardiff to help them refine their design for football and ensure they have the resources to get their innovative technology to market."