Biomechanical Expertise for Helmets & Other Personal Protective Equipment

Football players

Ensure equipment and helmet safety through rigorous, real-world testing

Exponent's engineers and scientists have extensive experience testing and analyzing the performance of head protection devices and other protective equipment, including gear used in recreational sports and activities, construction, the military, and individual transportation.

How do you test helmets and protective equipment for real-world injury prevention?

Helmets and protective gear can significantly reduce head injuries and other harm, but they require highly technical and complex evaluations to evaluate their performance in real-world scenarios. Using a variety of test methods, as well as reconstruction of real-world impact and injury scenarios, Exponent evaluates a wide variety of helmet types, including motorcycle, cycling, snow sport, and sporting, as well as industrial helmets and headgear. Combining the analysis of physical evidence with our knowledge of human kinematics, injury mechanics, and human tolerance enables us to assess equipment performance and its capability to mitigate injury.

Our team can provide in-depth analysis to determine whether use of a helmet (or other protective equipment) or a modified design would have prevented injury in a specific impact scenario.

Exponent's comprehensive testing and analysis capabilities

Exponent has a unique set of facilities and testing methodologies that enable our engineers and scientists to design and execute tests that recreate real-world accidents for a range of scenarios. Our team examines post-accident helmet impact damage to determine information about an event, including kinematics and the performance of helmet components. We can also use non-destructive techniques such as 3D scans and CT scans to examine helmets and determine the extent of damage, impact location, energy-absorbing liner performance, and severity of the event.

Helmets are often tested and certified based on their ability to reduce head linear accelerations; notwithstanding, certain head injuries in contact sports have been attributed to rotational head motion. While helmets cannot prevent all rotational brain injuries, the effectiveness of helmets in reducing rotational head kinematics has been an area of emphasis in our research and testing.

Exponent can test helmets and other sporting and protective equipment using our test facilities that include drop rail, projectile, sled, and pendulum impact systems, as well as material testing capabilities.


Our global and comprehensive expertise across industries gives us a deep understanding of current challenges, best industry practices, and the implications of emerging technologies.