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Kess2 East PhD in Engineering Development of Advanced Materials for Enhanced Head Protection

A fully-funded PhD fellowship is available at Cardiff University. Applications are invited up to August 16, 2019.

Dr Peter Theobald and Dr Shwe Soe lead a research team focussing on understanding and developing new solutions that better protect the head/brain.

In collaboration with Charles Owen - a leading equestrian helmet manufacturer, they have patented a series of novel materials. Their work is internationally respected, being the only non-US group to attract funding from the prestigious Head Health Tech programme, which aims to reduce head injury prevalence in contact sport.

The research group now comprises a series of PhD students and a post-doctoral researcher, focussing on researching and developing novel solutions for a range of helmet sectors. Common to all our activities is the use of additive manufacturing, which provides scope to realise the complex geometrical designs that are honed to achieve high-performance, established via computational (ie finite element analysis-based) simulations.

We have also developed a suite of new experimental rigs, which enable us to evaluate the mechanical viability of any new materials that could be incorporated into this workflow.

This PhD will focus on developing a novel liner for equestrian helmets, to better protect the brain. This innovation could replace the foam-based liner of existing helmets, which is the key component in absorbing energy during a fall.

The relatively narrow range of impact energies that helmets can absorb is a limitation of current materials, meaning this PhD will focus on developing a solution that can actively absorb energy during a greater range of typical fall scenarios.This means that the liner requires strain-rate dependant behaviour (ie viscoelasticity).

This PhD will utilise existing finite element analysis models of the brain, to establish a new material-structure that will provide effective protection from a range of impacts common within equestrian. This solution will out-perform existing materials by extending the performance range beyond those currently demanded of the testing standards. It is anticipated that this novel solution will combine a novel geometric structure, manufactured using a new-to-sector, viscoelastic material.


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