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An investigation on padding pressure in football helmetsFeatured science projectScience project video


The objective of this science fair project is to determine whether different padding pressures in football helmets on reduces the impact experienced by football players during head-on collisions. A 5 kg circular weight will be used to create the collision, and its effect on helmet padding pressures of 750 mmHg, 800 mmHg, 850 mmHg and 900 mmHg will be observed.


A higher padding pressure in football helmets will lower the force of impact experienced by players during head-on collisions.

Scientific Terms

Force, impact, pressure


Football helmet

American football is a popular team sport in the United States. It is also known as Gridiron which is an umbrella term used to refer to similar codes of football in some countries outside North America. This sport is very competitive as it involves both physical play and team strategy. A game will require two teams, a football field, a ball and necessary protective gears for the players.

The football helmet is the most important protective gear and is required for all levels of the game. It is molded using a very hard plastic, and contains a thick padding in its inner walls, a chin strap, a face guard that is made using either metal or plastic bars, and sometimes, a visor to protect the player’s  eyes.  Inspite of the protection offered by football helmets, players  still suffer from  head injuries and concussions. 

When a head-on collision occurs between two players, the force of the impact is applied directly to the point or area of contact. Such collisions can cause serious injuries if head helmets are not worn. By wearing football helmets, the force of the collision will be transferred to the outer surface of the helmet, after which it will be spread along the inner surface of the helmet. This distribution of force reduces the impact to the player’s head and will therefore reduce the seriousness of any injuries.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
Preparation will take approximately two hours, and observation and recording of data will require another two hours
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Caution should be taken to prevent the falling weight from hitting anyone