Project Info

Experimental Characterization of Defense Helmet Liners for Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention

Leslie Lamberson

Project Goals and Description:

Due to their low weight, low cost, and compliant, dissipative mechanical response, stochastic elastomeric foam materials are integral to many types of protective equipment for blunt impact and blast mitigating applications – e.g., helmet liners. Yet, in order to best harness the full protective potential of this class of materials, a predictive constitutive model of their rate-and-temperature-dependent, large-deformation mechanical behavior is needed for use in design and currently does not exist. Existing models are incomplete, being limited in strain amplitude, deformation-mode, strain-rate-range, or temperature-range. The lack of a broadly predictive constitutive model for elastomeric foams is a significant bottleneck in design, and therefore, the development of a predictive model will be a transformative step forward in the design of protective equipment, enabling the next generation of head and brain protection. In this aim, we seek to develop an integrated experimental/theoretical approach for characterizing and modeling the large-deformation material response of a general class of elastomeric foam materials, accounting for rate-and-temperature-dependent behavior of direct relevance to defense environments, that may then be used in the design of protective equipment.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Not applicable.
This is part of a larger collaborative research group known as PANTHER, homepage here:

Primary Contacts:

Leslie Lamberson,  

Student Preparation


The most important characteristic we look for in a student is integrity.  Prospective students should have some basic mechanics of materials knowledge and be open to learning new software, material preparation and/or material laboratory characterization and analysis techniques.  We also feel being a good collaborator (team environment) and good communicator are necessary qualifications for the position.




The student will gain hands-on experimental mechanics experience in a research lab, as well as experience working as part of a collaborative team (with industry, academic and national laboratory partners).  Students will gain knowledge on additive manufacturing, dynamic behavior of brittle materials, experimental mechanics, materials science and technical communication skills.


The student will have an onboarding process for the lab with the lab faculty advisor.  Then the student will be paired with a graduate student and/or postdoc for the project and will work directly in the lab with that mentor.  The lab works in a very team oriented environment, so various trainings for the student will be done by various members of the lab team for the student once a designed project plan is in place.  The student will meet with the entire team, including the advisor, for weekly group meetings and monthly for project update meeting.  The student is invited to all relevant additional meetings from various outside-of-Mines team members as they are able.


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