Effects of shear-thickening polymer on force attenuation capacities in hip protectors

Haeun Yum, Hamin Lim, Dahae Min, Chani Kwon, Jiin Seo, Minji Kim, Bobae Kim, Kyoung Min Lee, Taeyong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many elderly people use hip protectors to prevent hip fractures from sideways falls. These hip protectors absorb or shunt away the energy applied to the greater trochanter. Herein, shear-thickening polymer (STP)-based hip protectors composed of STP and polyurethane foam are studied. The purpose of this study was to identify the main factor that reduces the impact force directly applied to the femoral neck region and to determine the optimal thickness of STP in hip protectors. Seven hip protectors of different thicknesses were prepared, and two sets of free-fall mechanical tests with a low impact energy of 25.1 J and moderate impact energy of 44.1 J were conducted for each hip protector. When the thickness of STP exceeded 8 mm, the resultant peak force tended to plateau under both impact conditions, and the force attenuation capacity decreased even under low impact energy conditions. Thus, a hip protector with a 6 mm or 8 mm STP and 5 mm foam was recommended. The STP was the key factor affecting force attenuation capacity, not the polyurethane foam. However, the foam also played an important role in helping the STP function and improving compliance for users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3881-3885
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (NRF-2019R1F1A1058182).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Hip protector
  • impact test
  • optimal thickness
  • polyurethane foam
  • shear-thickening polymer


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