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Technology: Helmets Designed with Closeable Air Vents

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (dstl) has announced a licensing opportunity for a technology design of vented helmets which offer ballistic protection.

Military and police helmets offer extensive protection from fragmenting munitions. They are generally metal or polymer composite matrix materials, and as such are impervious to evaporative cooling which once the core temperature of the human is above a certain level is the only method humans have to cool. As such, combat and law enforcement helmets contributes to the thermal burden of a soldier or responder.

The invention seeks to offer the opportunity to allow evaporative cooling of the head by providing openable vents in the helmet structure. This will allow airflow through the helmet and so allow evaporative cooling. The vents could be opened by a number of means such as by solid state actuators using dielectric elastomers or shape memory polymers.

The technology could be incorporated into future military helmet designs, which would significantly increase the comfort and safety of personnel operating in hot climates. Police officers on patrol would have the vents open and would only close them in high risk situation.

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