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Composite personal protective equipment: Combat helmets

Composites are a staple material in many types of personal protective equipment. For instance, composites are the primary material used to make a variety of helmets for everything from construction workers to combat troops. Today’s combat helmets in particular are benefitting significantly from the composite materials used to build these vital pieces of personal protective equipment.

Combat helmets get several important benefits from composites

Modern combat helmets are a vital type of personal protective equipment for the military, and their origins begin in World War I. For the United States military, this conflict saw the adoption of the first combat helmet in the form of the M1917. This helmet was copied from a British helmet design and essentially looked like a soup bowl with a brim around it.

Fast forward to the 1980s where composites entered the combat helmet realm of the U.S. military with the introduction of the Personal Armour System Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet. The PASGT was constructed using the synthetic ballistic fiber known as Kevlar. This material was bonded with a polyester resin to create a helmet that was light years better than any combat helmet previously used by the U.S. military. The composite materials used in the PASGT were capable of stopping most small caliber bullets, shrapnel and shell fragments at medium to moderate ranges. However, the biggest benefit of these helmets was to the troops wearing them, since the small model weighed only 3.1 pounds and the extra large model only weighed 4.2 pounds.

The PASGT served with distinction all the way up to the early 2000s when it was replaced with the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH). The ACH has undergone many improvements and variations since it was introduced in 2003. This critical piece of personal protective equipment is currently being produced in a second-generation model that’s even lighter and provides more head protection than ever before. If fact, the ACH weighs in at only 2.4 pounds thanks to newer and more advanced Kevlar composites. At the same time, the advanced composite material also allows the ACH to significantly improve the helmet’s fragmentation performance, and neck and ear coverage.

Personal protective equipment in the form of the modern composite combat helmet has saved the lives of countless soldiers since it was introduced, and the current model, the Advanced Combat Helmet, Generation II, is likely to be the standard head protection of the U.S. military services for years to come. However, when a new combat helmet is developed, there’s a very good chance that composites will continue to be the construction material of choice thanks to the many benefits they offer.  

Composites One is the number one composite materials distributor in the U. S. and Canada

If your company produces composite personal protective equipment or other products for the military, having a steady source of composite materials is a must. Composites One can help you find the reliable source of composite materials your business needs.

One reason we can help is we have thousands of high-quality composite materials in stock from hundreds of the best suppliers in the business. We also have 41 distribution centers located across the United States and Canada. This extensive distribution network not only makes us the number one composite materials distributor in North America, it also means we may be able to get your materials to you faster.

For more information about all the composite materials and services we offer, contact Composites One today.