How do you test my helmet?
As you might imagine, we get asked this a lot. So we thought it would be helpful to cover off a little bit about the science behind what we do.
We use lasers!
- Each helmet inspection consists of multiple inspection points, ensuring we obtain full coverage of your helmet.
- Systematically moving around each inspection point, we generate a baseline 3D holographic image.
- At each inspection point, we add a very small amount of heat to your helmet
- If a defect or damage exists at the inspection point, the area with the defect will expand and contract at a different rate from the rest of the material.
- Our instrument identifies these minute changes in the shell’s behaviour as it expands and contracts.
- These changes, should they exist, are identified by our algorithm as defects/damage and flagged for verification by an experienced technical authority.
How much heat do you apply to a helmet?
Usually no more than 2-3 deg C … sometimes simply breathing on a helmet is enough heat to conduct a test. That’s how sensitive our instruments are. In fact, our instruments are approx. 100,000 more sensitive than the human eye. Or to be more specific, accurate to 100 nanometres. That’s about the size of the influenza virus.
Do You Inspect The Inner EPS Liner?
Contrary to popular belief, the outer shell of the helmet does all the “heavy lifting” when it comes to shock dissipation. So, given that the EPS liner is protected by the outer shell, we don’t test the EPS liner. If the outer shell has been compromised, the integrity of the EPS liner becomes immaterial … the helmet is no longer fit for purpose.
It’s possible the integrity of the EPS liner may become compromised from the inside, but under normal use, it’s likely the EPS liner will outlive the outer shell.
Degradation of the EPS liner will be evident from a visual inspection. Most helmet manufacturers coat the white EPS with a black material. If you visually inspect the inner liner and you see white speckles, this suggests the liner has deteriorated and the helmet should be replaced.
The image below shows an extreme example of a damaged EPS liner.
A word of warning: be careful when installing a comms system, especially if you use adhesive tape to position the wires that sit inside the helmet to the EPS liner. When you remove the adhesive tape, this will remove the black coating – and in doing so reduces the effectiveness of a visual inspection.