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Emerging Technology Marketplace

Volatile Padding Technology's d-Cel Flexible Padding

A customizable and flexible padding material and design that provides significantly enhanced impact-energy absorption. Impact protection and shock absorbance is a critical need in numerous applications, including head protection; body protection; repetitive stress relief; structural padding; ballistic protection; and more. Of the many materials and designs developed to absorb impacts, none exhibit as much impact-absorbing capability as this flexible, thin design.

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Tech Brief

Description
A customizable padding material and design that provides significantly enhanced impact absorption.

Technical Features & Benefits
Impact protection and shock absorbance is a critical need in numerous applications, including head protection; body protection; repetitive stress relief; structural padding; ballistic protection; and more. Of the many materials and designs developed to absorb impacts, none exhibit as much impact-absorbing capability as this flexible, thin design. The key inventive feature of this technology utilizes a unique shock-absorbing design that is highly effective in impact energy dissipation. Prototype designs indicate it is easily manufactured. Independent third-party testing has demonstrated that this design and material combine to provide the same energy absorption as hard-shell type devices. The technology can be implemented in many different material configurations and designs tailored for particular applications.

This technology has been tested in headband form in a third party laboratory setting according to ASTM Standard F 1446. The tested headband was impacted numerous times under varying conditions (dry, wet and doubled over) and at varying locations (front, right side, and rear). When compared to currently manufactured competitors in the non-helmeted sports industry, the prototype reduced the severity index inflicted on the headform to a measurably greater extent (see graphic). Further testing, at Sheffield Hallam University, used a drop rig outfitted with a simulated cricket ball accelerometer. Results indicate the technology protects in a graduated manner with increasing impact energies. These results suggest the technology has the capacity to protect over range of applied forces.

Applications
The technology applies to a broad range of industries with both human and non-human uses. In the human sector, the thin/flexible design is suitable for sports and recreation, industrial equipment, and military armor/protection—all sectors could use the technology in both hard and soft head/body protection, and padding for limbs and extremities. The technology also has medical relevance, with potential for prosthetic padding, bed sore prevention and wheelchair seating. Non-human applications include packaging and shipping, ergonomics for work and recreation, and protective structures such as padded walls, goal posts, floor mats and ballistic blankets. The market potential for this technology is considerable: the U.S. market for sports protective equipment was nearly .0 billion in 2013 and is estimated to grow to .1 billion in 2018. The market for military protective gear was roughly .07 billion. Beyond human applications, the technology applies to high-value item markets, including the billion musical instrument sector, the 4 + billion U.S. dollar laptop market, and transport of fragile/sensitive instruments and art pieces.

Intellectual Property Status: PCT Patent Application US14/36753 filed on 05 May 2014 (designating all countries); prior-art search and patentability opinion available.

Business Development Opportunity: Licensing or sale of technology package including U.S and foreign patent rights, trade secrets, and trademark; and / or joint venture, technical know-how and related prototype product design.

Contact: Richard Cahoon, President, BioProperty Strategy Group, Inc., 607-229-0802 · rscahoon@biopropertystrategy.com

 

Non-Confidential Presentation

 

Summary Report

Testing d-CEL™ COMPOSITE IMPACT ABSORBING STRUCTURE
Invented by Patrick Streeter, Volatile Padding Technologies, Inc.
PCT Patent Application PCT/US14/36753 (Filed May 5, 2014)

Introduction
Volatile Padding Technology's patent-pending, soft padding structure for enhanced impact energy-absorption (d-CEL™) has been tested in three different settings: two tests in independent labs and one performed by the lead inventor at Sheffield Hallam University. This report summarizes those three sets of testing results. While there are many different potential applications of d-CEL™, initial testing has focused on soft-shell head protection systems for sports applications.

Independent Testing Methodology (protective headgear)
For the testing and validation of protective headgear in helmeted sports, potential products require extensive impact testing, using standard methods; but, there are no such requirements for non-helmeted sports. Since the initial goal was to evaluate d-CEL™ in a soft headgear application, it was decided to test the d-CEL™ soft padding (constructed to thicknesses of both 1/2" and 9/16") according to ASTM Standard F 1446: Standard Test Methods for Equipment and Procedures Used in Evaluating the Performance Characteristics of Protective Headgear, with slight modifications being made to the standard procedures to better suit the tested application. For these tests, d-CEL™ was assembled in a prototype headband design, intended for use in non-helmeted sports such as soccer. In testing, the prototype headband was fixed to a 4.98 kg headform which was then dropped from a height of 1.08 m onto a steel plate, in order to achieve impact velocities in the range of 4.40 m·s-1 - 4.60 m·s-1. During testing, acceleration values were taken from electronics located directly inside the headform, giving final values of peak acceleration and the time at which the headform reached an acceleration of 50 g's. From these results, an industry standard “Severity Index"1 could be calculated, allowing data between different testing situations to be compared. This Severity Index is proportional to the amount of acceleration reduced in the tested headform.

Testing by ICS Laboratories www.icslabs.com
Using the method described above, initial prototypes of d-CEL ™ soft padding were tested directly against two competitor technologies at ICS Laboratories in Brunswick, Ohio in August 2012. The prototypes were configured as a headband with a thickness of 1/2". The competitor technologies tested were “Full 90 Premier" headband and “ForceField" headband. Impacts occurred at front, rear, front boss, rear boss, and right-side locations on each impacted protective device, representative of impact locations commonly noted in sporting activities.

Table 1 shows the results of these tests by ICS.

Table 1: Comparison of ICS Laboratories Impact Testing Results

  Volatile Padding 1/2" Prototype Full90 Premier Headband ForceField Headband
Impact Location Peak Acceleration (g) Severity Index Peak Acceleration (g) Severity Index Peak Acceleration (g) Severity Index
Front 229.10 1620.00 252.60 1975.00 248.40 1938.00
Right Side 248.40 1748.00 272.30 2119.00 327.10 2918.00
Rear 238.50 1667.00 269.90 2121.00 253.00 1894.00
Front Boss 232.00 1603.00 246.00 1764.00 237.10 1639.00
Rear Boss 243.70 1719.00 260.50 1928.00 276.90 2179.00

Testing by Intertek www.intertek.com
Also using the method described above, 1/2" thick prototypes of d-CEL™, in headband form, were tested at Intertek in Cortland, NY in July 2013.

The d-CEL™ headband padding was impacted eighteen (18) times under varying conditions (dry, wet and doubled over) and at varying locations (front, right side, and rear). As seen in the figure below, when compared to currently manufactured competitors in the non-helmeted sports industry (the Full90 Premier Headband and the ForceField Headband), d-CEL™ padding, in the headband prototype, reduced the Severity Index experienced by the headform to a significantly greater degree.

Testing at Sheffield University www.shu.ac.uk
Testing at Sheffield Hallam University was conducted by the lead inventor at the Centre for Sports Engineering Research in Sheffield, England in May, 2014. These tests used a recently developed, new prototype design using d-CEL™. This new design was constructed to dimensions of 3" x 3" x 9/16". Impact testing was conducted in a laboratory setting using a custom-built impacting drop rig. To evaluate the newly-developed d-CEL™ prototype under low-impact conditions, drop testing was performed at four low-impact energies (2.05 kJ, 4.10 kJ, 6.15 kJ, and 9.25 kJ) with a simulated cricket ball impacting-head. In these tests, previously developed prototypes ( 1/2" thick), were directly compared to the newly-developed prototypes.

The individually tested prototype squares were fixed to a steel platform onto which a 2.10 kg simulated cricket ball was then dropped from a heights ranging from 0.10 m - 0.45 m, in order to achieve impact energies in the range of 2.05 kJ - 9.25 kJ. During testing, peak acceleration values were obtained from electronics embedded in the simulated cricket ball. The tested d-CEL™ padding was impacted a total of 20 times (5 impacts per impact velocity). The results are displayed in the graph below.

The results above show the ability of d-CEL™ padding to reduce forces across a wide range of impact energies. Through the customization of thickness parameters within a specific padding design, such as the comparison of a 1/2" thick prototype with a 9/16" thick prototype, impact protection capabilities can be significantly altered.

Conclusions
Based on the results of the three sets of testing, the following conclusions about the d-CEL padding technology can be drawn:

  • d-CEL™ impact absorptive material reduces peak accelerations to a significantly greater degree than direct competitors in the soft-shell head impact market
  • Increasing d-CEL™ padding thickness can increase impact protection over certain ranges of impact energies ('Comparison of d-CEL™ Maximum Accelerations'). Adaptability of padding allows for custom designs to be made for specific impact attenuation needs
  • d-CEL™ padding protects in situations where both high ('Comparison of Impact Severity Index') and low ('Comparison of d-CEL™ Maximum Accelerations') impact energies occur


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