In many sports, headgear is worn to provide head safety. Sports activity alone or combined with a warm environment results in heat production and increased heat storage. Increases in heat storage can be observed as increases in skin and body core temperature. The increase in these temperatures can be intensified by wearing a headgear as it can cause accumulation of the heat underneath the helmet. Consequently, the wearer can feel thermal discomfort which often results in decreased sports performance. 

The goal of the project

To design a new universal helmet liner that will provide cooling and thereby prevent increase in body temperature and reduce thermal discomfort resulting in improved sports performance. To achieve this goal, thermal properties of the human head were closely studied to understand cooling demands for the newly proposed liner.  

The principle of the new helmet liner is based on evaporative and convective cooling through use of a powered fan system. In addition, a new material and structure are used to enhance the cooling capability. The inspiration for the material and structure comes from nature’s strategies to absorb and transport fluids.

A pyramid-like structure, with micro channels on all ribs, reaches the skin through the layer of hair to absorb the sweat directly from the skin. This structure is covered with an absorbing biomaterial, aiding in extracting sweat away from the skin. The pyramid structured surface of the new helmet liner will transport sweat away from the head’s skin, enhance airflow within the helmet and thereby increase sweat evaporation.


  • Sietske Visser