Industrial Application: Testing Helmets on the Market
In a broad and multi-faceted investigation, a number of factors were addressed related to the reasons why bicyclists in Europe do not wish to wear a helmet. Chief among them were design, the problem of mussed or matted hair, the social perception of helmeted bicyclists, the lack of convenience involved in carrying and storing a helmet, the lack of thermal comfort, and increased heat/sweating. Although studies show that helmets do help keep cyclists warm in cold weather, the fact that helmets are not compatible with other clothing was a deterrent.
Working Group 4’s investigation included an evaluation of bicycle helmets currently on the market. Several designs and helmet covers were tested for their ability to transfer and dissipate local heat accumulation. Using head manikins, a variety of testing scenarios resulted in data related to convective cooling (through proper air flow) and radiant shielding (protection from direct sunlight). The differences in convective heat loss were measured. The areas of the head most affected by radiant heat were determined, and the ways in which helmets can actually drastically increase heat loss were determined.