About Helmet Inspection
The annotated area depicts significant structural damage to the customer’s helmet, damage that’s not visible to the naked eye, and damage that would cause this helmet to be ineffective on an impact.
We see the invisible.
Pick up the slider on Inspection #1 and take a look at an alternative view of our inspection.
This is an example of a single inspection point. Each one of our tests includes multiple inspection points, ensuring we obtain 100% coverage for conclusive results.
Helmet integrity is affected by a number of variables, which is why manufacturers typically state that the lifespan is between 3 and 5 years. This isn’t a ruse by the manufacturers to get you to buy a new helmet every 3 – 5 years, as some believe. It’s simply a statement of fact. Your helmet is a consumable item, and it degrades over time. The degradation process happens irrespective of whether you wear your helmet or not. However, the more you use your helmet, the quicker the degradation process happens.
The two key components created in the helmet manufacturing process are (a) an outer shell and (b) an inner liner.
The outer shell on non-budget helmets is typically manufactured from composite materials, such as Fibreglass, Kevlar and Carbon Fibre. The outer shell is designed, generally speaking, to absorb 30-35% of an initial impact and dissipate the shock forces over a wider area. It’s your first line of defence.
The inner liner is designed to absorb the remaining force(s) passed from the outer shell, in the event of an impact.
If the integrity of the outer shell is compromised, on impact, the inner liner is being asked to absorb more of the impact force. Something it’s not designed to do.
Composite materials are excellent at absorbing and dissipating shock forces, but only once. The nature of composite materials means that once they have taken an impact, the integrity of the material may be compromised.
But your helmet doesn’t need to have taken an impact for the integrity to be compromised. Other factors will also lead to integrity issues, such as;
- natural ageing of the glues used to bind the composites
- exposure to petrol fumes
- extended exposure to sunlight
- hair products
- telling fibs to your mates about the wheelie you didn’t really pull
Okay, we made up the last one. We just wanted to see if you were still with us.
Due to the nature of composite materials, and how their integrity may be compromised, a visual inspection with the naked eye is simply not effective.
What about x-ray or ultrasound? Nope, still not good enough, certainly not for inspecting composite materials on a motorcycle / motorsport helmet.
So, what do we need to provide an effective inspection on helmets?
Lasers! Massive Star Wars lasers!
Actually, the laser technology we use is quite compact.
We apply a small amount of heat to your helmet, usually no more than +3degC. As your helmet starts to cool, the rate at which the composite material cools differs between “good” composites and “bad” composites. These differences become visible to the naked eye on our computer system when we fire the Star Wars laser at your helmet.
Can you use any type of laser, or does it need to be a Star Wars laser?
We’ve already told you too much, young Jedi.