The medical threat from shock waves related to improvised explosive device (IED) blasts and other explosions pose a significant threat to military personnel. Advancements in synthetic human physiology research is helping provide a glimpse of realistic blast testing, with artificial cranial bones focused on skulls of the 20- and 30-year old soldiers deployed.
The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) wants to create a uniform response that can be used to develop better helmets and technology to reduce the impact of blast waves and blunt impact related to explosions.
"The mechanical properties of the human skull challenge with age and depend on the health of the individual," said Dr. Thomas Plaisted, ARL Materials and Manufacturing Science Division materials engineer. "Donor skulls that may be available for testing would typically come from older people, and the properties of those skulls can be highly variable and may not have the same response as the average skull of the Army Soldier population."