Injury Risk Assessment of Non-Lethal Projectile Head Impacts

Amar Oukara 1, 2, 3, *, Nestor Nsiampa 1, 3, Cyril Robbe , Alexandre Papy 1
1 Royal Military Academy–Department of Weapon Systems and Ballistics-30 Avenue de la Renaissance, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
2 Polytechnic Military School, 17 Bordj El-Bahri, Algiers, Algeria
3 University of Liège (ULg)–Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Department (LTAS) – 1, Chemin des Chevreuils, 4000 Liège, Belgium

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© Oukara et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Royal Military Academy – Department of Weapons Systems and Ballistics-30 Avenue de la Renaissance, 1000 Brussels, Belgium; Tel: +32 2 742 6339; Fax: +32 2 742 6320; E-mail:


Kinetic energy non-lethal projectiles are used to impart sufficient effect onto a person in order to deter uncivil or hazardous behavior with a low probability of permanent injury. Since their first use, real cases indicate that the injuries inflicted by such projectiles may be irreversible and sometimes lead to death, especially for the head impacts. Given the high velocities and the low masses involved in such impacts, the assessment approaches proposed in automotive crash tests and sports may not be appropriate. Therefore, there is a need of a specific approach to assess the lethality of these projectiles. In this framework, some recent research data referred in this article as “force wall approach” suggest the use of three lesional thresholds (unconsciousness, meningeal damages and bone damages) that depend on the intracranial pressure. Three corresponding critical impact forces are determined for a reference projectile. Based on the principle that equal rigid wall maximal impact forces will produce equal damage on the head, these limits can be determined for any other projectile. In order to validate the consistence of this innovative method, it is necessary to compare the results with other existing assessment methods. This paper proposes a comparison between the “force wall approach” and two different head models. The first one is a numerical model (Strasbourg University Finite Element Head Model-SUFEHM) from Strasbourg University; the second one is a mechanical surrogate (Ballistics Load Sensing Headform-BLSH) from Biokinetics.

Keywords: Force wall approach, Finite element model, Head impacts, Injury assessment, Kinetic energy non-lethal projectiles, Surrogate..