Visors for troops would reduce head injuries
Image via WikipediaBBC:
A simple face shield added to soldiers' helmets could save lives, says a study.I would be concerned about the added weight and the potential for impairing vision as the visor got dirty or scratched. Still it is something to consider.
A detailed simulation of how explosive blasts pass through the skull shows existing helmets used by the US delay but do not dissipate blast waves.
Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers say that blasts' pressure waves enter the skull primarily through the face.
A clear plastic shield could spread that pressure throughout the helmet, avoiding brain injury, they say.
Previous studies have suggested that the Advanced Combat Helmet, currently employed by the majority of US ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, actually focuses blast wave energy, causing more harm than good.
To find out, Raul Radovitzky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and his colleagues simulated a human skull in detail on a computer.
They then applied a simulated blast wave to it, observing how the pressure wave - an advancing, expanding sphere representing 10 times normal atmospheric pressure - propagated through a simulated head with and without a helmet on.
The team found that the current helmet does not make matters worse.
"The existing Advanced Combat Helmet... does not worsen the negative effects of a blast wave - does not enhance the energy of the blast - as has been previously suggested," Dr Radovitzky told BBC News.
"But we also find that it doesn't really help much; it doesn't mitigate the blast wave significantly."