Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Daniel Stara, Aquinas High School, David City, NE
The Effects of Nickel Titanium (Nitinol) Wire on Impact Force

A concussion is a very dangerous injury that can affect a person for the rest of their life. Concussions are incredibly dangerous and occur in activities such as football and hockey much more often than they should. There are more than 200,000 sports-related concussions in the United States annually and hundreds of former football and hockey players suffer the lingering effects a concussion which include depression, unnatural sleep habits, and amnesia. With their light weight and high tensile strength, nickel titanium alloy (nitinol) wires may help reduce sports-related concussions if integrated into athletic headgear. To test this theory nitinol wires were wound around bolts fastened to a piece of wood to form a mesh. This piece of wood was then placed on a larger piece of wood suspended from two force sensors by two chains. Then, a weight was dropped on the wire mesh, impact force was recorded from both sensors, added, and the mean from each experimental group was found. Preliminary trials have been done and the results support the hypothesis with the wires reducing impact force by up to twenty Newtons in some trials. These wire meshes could be integrated into high-impact areas of all athletic helmets in order to reduce concussions and ensure the safety of their participants.