Some Great War helmets may not have been that bad
Biomedical engineers from Duke University have demonstrated that, despite significant advancements in protection from ballistics and blunt impacts, modern military helmets are no better at protecting the brain from shock waves created by nearby blasts than their World War I counterparts. And one model in particular, the French Adrian helmet, actually performed better than modern designs in protecting from overhead blasts.
The research could help improve the blast protection of future helmets through choosing different materials, layering multiple materials of different acoustic impedance, or altering their geometry.
The results were published online on February 13, 2020, in the journal PLOS ONE.
“While we found that all helmets provided a substantial amount of protection against blast, we were surprised to find that the 100-year-old helmets performed just as well as modern ones,” said Joost Op ‘t Eynde, a biomedical engineering Ph.D. student at Duke and first author of the study. “Indeed, some historical helmets performed better in some respects.”