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Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Investigation, Design and Comparative
Analysis of Field Hockey Face Masks.

Andrew L. Charter
School of Mechanical Engineering
University of Western Australia

Supervisor: Jeremy Leggoe
Associate Professor
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
University of Western Australia

Final Year Project Thesis
School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering
University of Western Australia

Submitted: June 30
, 2013
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Project Summary:

Field Hockey is one of the most popular sports on the planet and played across the
globe. One particular phase of play known as a Penalty Corner is especially
dangerous. In this play, players are expected, at the international level, to stand on the
goal line and attempt to save a ball travelling at approximately 120 km/hr.

For this passage of play, players are able to wear protective facemasks although with no
official standards in place by the sports governing body the FIH (International Hockey
Federation) it was the authors suspicion that masks currently on the market did not
provide adequate protection.

Current off-the-shelf masks were tested by simulating a high-velocity impact using a
ball machine and viewed using a high-speed camera (1000 fps). The forces calculated
were then compared to an adjusted risk function based on previous medical studies to
provide a likelihood of facial fracture.

The results found that the current off-the-shelf masks are grossly inadequate and would
result in fracture of all major facial bones except the frontal bone. Leading to the second
phase of the project which aimed to develop a new and innovative design based on the
needs of international level players which was tested under the same regime.

While the final prototype design did prevent the ball from impacting the face it was
found to be impractical due to the thicknesses required and cost of production.

A range of recommendations have also been prepared for presentation to the sports
governing body regarding the implementation of standards and policy around protecting
the players.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Letter of Transmittal
Andrew L. Charter
38 Salisbury Street
Saint James, WA, 6102

June, 2013

Winthrop Professor John Dell
Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, WA, 6009

Dear Professor Dell

I am pleased to submit this thesis, entitled Investigation, Design and comparative
analysis of protection provided by Field Hockey face masks as part of the requirement
for the degree of Bachelor of Engineering.

Yours Sincerely

Andrew L. Charter

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



The author would like to take this chance to acknowledge the support provided by a
large number of key parties in the creation and review of this thesis.

Firstly to my supervisor Jeremy Leggoe for his enthusiastic assistance over the 12
months that we have been working together. His help allowed me to stay on track and
achieve the results I have presented in this paper so coherently.

Secondly to Simon Barnett from OBO hockey, his insight and previous dealings with
FIH gave me unfathomable insight into the approval system used. The company also
provided me with multiple masks for testing which otherwise would have been even
more limited due to budget constraints.

Next to Select Sports who also provided me with the Mazon face masks and the use of
their Bola hockey ball machine for the experimentation phase.

Last but not least Ridley Williams of Slow Motion Cameras Australia for being so
understanding of the limited budget of this thesis project, the camera used for analysis
was provided free of charge for a number of weeks. Without this support analysis of the
impacts would have been almost impossible.

Again thanks to everyone involved, I believe this project was an outstanding success
and it would not have been possible without the support of all parties noted above.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Table of Contents
1. Introduction: .............................................................................................................. 7
1.1. Penalty Corner Phase .......................................................................................... 8
1.2. Facial Structure:................................................................................................ 11
1.3. Bone Tolerance to Fracture: ............................................................................. 12
1.4. Permanent Damage from Fracture: .................................................................. 12
1.5. FIH Equipment Standards: ............................................................................... 13
2. Literature Review: ................................................................................................... 17
2.1. State of the Art: ................................................................................................ 17
2.2. Standards System ............................................................................................. 21
2.3. Parallel Technologies ....................................................................................... 23
2.4. Conclusions to be made .................................................................................... 31
3. Force Approximation: .............................................................................................. 32
4. Risk Function Creation ............................................................................................ 34
4.1. Male Risk Function Criteria ............................................................................. 34
4.2. Risk Function Plot ............................................................................................ 36
5. Test Rig Design and Construction: .......................................................................... 37
6. Ballistic Testing (Experimental Chapter) ................................................................ 41
6.1. Method .............................................................................................................. 41
6.2. Materials ........................................................................................................... 42
7. Results and Analysis ................................................................................................ 44
7.1. Results .............................................................................................................. 46
7.2. Analysis/Discussion ......................................................................................... 48
7.3. Metal Cage Comparison ................................................................................... 49
8. Mask Design: ........................................................................................................... 50
8.1. Conceptual Design ........................................................................................... 50
8.2. Preliminary Design/Shell Profile ...................................................................... 53
8.3. Detail Design and Development ....................................................................... 54
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


8.4. Redesign and Prototyping................................................................................. 54
8.5. Prototype analysis ............................................................................................. 56
9. Conclusion and Recommendations .......................................................................... 59
10. Further Work ........................................................................................................ 61
11. Appendix 1 Image Sequences ........................................................................... 66
11.1. OBO FaceOff V1 .......................................................................................... 66
11.2. OBO FaceOff V2 (Banned) .......................................................................... 67
11.3. Mazon V1 ..................................................................................................... 68
11.4. Mazon V2 ..................................................................................................... 69
11.5. OBO FaceOff V2 Run 2 ............................................................................... 70
11.6. Prototype 1 Layer ......................................................................................... 71
11.7. Prototype 3 Layer ......................................................................................... 72
11.8. Prototype 3 Layer No Deflection .................................................................. 73
11.9. Prototype 4 Layer Filmed ............................................................................. 74

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


1. Introduction:

Field Hockey is one of the most popular sports on the planet and played across the
globe. Though it is an inherently dangerous sport with 0.16 Kilogram balls travelling at
speeds of near 140 kilometres an hour. One particular phase of play known as a
Penalty Corner is remarkably dangerous. In this play, players are expected, at the
international level, to stand on the goal line and attempt to make a save. This places
them in an extremely vulnerable position with the chance of severe facial trauma

Before a penalty corner players are allowed to don protective equipment, including
gloves and a facemask, in an attempt to lower the chance of injury. At this point in time,
the sports governing body FIH (International Hockey Federation) have not
implemented a standards system that protective equipment must adhere to. This
ultimately allows manufacturers to place any mask on the market, with no legal
responsibility to ensure that it protects the players from severe impacts. OBO Hockey
undertook their own research into the protection provided by current facemasks by
simply filming the impacts, these videos have been released online
(http://www.faceofftruestory.com/#/home). These showed the severity of impacts and in
some cases the catastrophic failure of existing masks, suggesting that the current
products are inadequate. This information was presented to FIH who still believed that
the safety of the player in line of the ball was secondary to a low speed player on player
collision thus requiring no action to be taken (Barnett, 2010).

This project sought to test and evaluate a range of off-the-shelf masks through a series
of ballistic tests simulated through the use of a cricket bowling machine and a custom
fabricated test rig. It then relates the approximated forces to historical medical data of
facial bone tolerances to calculate a percentage chance of fracture based on a normal

The project also resulted in the initial design exploration, and construction of a
prototype face mask implementing some key principles in force mitigation

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


The use of a hard strike face
Energy dissipation zone
Angular profile.

These increase the materials strength, stiffness and resistance to ballistic impact. These
masks will also be placed under the same ballistic impact tests as the off-the-shelf

From the ballistic testing analysis a range of recommendations are prepared with a view
to their future presentation to FIH to engage some key policy changes to protect the
players of the games.

1.1. Penalty Corner Phase

A penalty corner is a unique piece of play in field hockey it is a set piece with a
conversion rate of approximately 33% and accounts for a significant percentage of goals
within the game.

A penalty corner consists of 4 defenders and 1 goalkeeper starting behind the baseline,
the figure below shows the general set up of a penalty corner;


Once the player has moved the ball from the starting position the defending team can
move (International Hockey Federation, 2010a). The most basic and most widely used
defence has the defending team finishing in a structure shown below;
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



There are a number of dangerous situations for players in penalty corner defence; the
player running to the top of the circle is expected to run down the line of the shot
protecting the left side of the goal using his body. This is dangerous as attackers try to
flick through this line leading to a high chance of being hit in the legs or higher.
Secondly, and arguably the most dangerous, is the player standing on the left post. It is
expected throughout the world that this player stand inside the goal and attempt to save
a ball that misses the runner. This is extremely difficult for a number of reasons:

1. The running player obstructs the players view.
2. The player is only allowed to play the ball with their stick.
3. It is against natural reactions to stand in the line of a ball rather than attempt to

Just prior to the submission of this paper on July 22
2013 a player (Paul Nicholls) in
Perths premier Hockey Competition the Melville Toyota League was hit by a drag flick
from Adrian Lockley while standing on the post. The ball deflected off his stick
impacting the TK mask he was wearing resulting in right zygomatic fracture at the time
of submission he was due to consult a surgeon.

Lastly, the player on the right is also in a dangerous position. The natural flicking
action requires converting anti-clockwise rotational velocity into tangential velocity.
There are situations where the player gets the ball stuck in the hook of their stick and
the ball is released late causing the player to pull the ball towards the right of the goal
(from defenders perspective), Kris Glass, a close friend of the author, was hit in this
position. He was not wearing a facemask, resulting in a broken mandible which
required surgery to correct.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Knowing the danger presented to the defending team the sports governing body (FIH)
introduced rules allowing players to wear protective equipment for these situations
including and limited to;

1. Gloves for protection which do not increase the natural size of the hands
significantly (International Hockey Federation, 2010b)
2. A smooth preferably transparent or white but otherwise single coloured
facemask which closely fits the face when defending a penalty corner
(International Hockey Federation, 2010b)
3. Shin guards and a groin protector as standard hockey protective equipment.

The point of concern is that there is no implemented national or international standard
for the protection that masks need to provide. Other similar sports such as Ice Hockey
have certification processes implemented by respective councils like the HECC
(Hockey Equipment Certification Council) where they ensure all products approved are
in accordance with government standards for example; Headgear used by goal tenders
only is evaluated to ASTM F1587 standard Specification for Head and Face Protection
for Ice Hockey Goaltenders this standard simulates a number of dangerous scenarios
including stick penetration and ballistic impact testing at variety of angles to ensure
there is no cage breakages etc. (The Hockey Equipment Certification Council Inc,
2013). To simulate these scenarios pucks are aimed and fired at 80 mph (~128 kph) at
various locations, the centre of the eyes and mouth and below the eyes on each side to
check for breakages or facial impact. Impact absorption properties are also tested
through the dropping of the mask from a specified height onto a flat surface with forces
measured from head form instrumentation. (ASTM International, 2012b). A similar
process is undertaken for the certification of Full Face protectors in accordance to
ASTM F513 with them requiring to prevent facial impact at puck speeds of 63 mph
(~101 kph) (ASTM International, 2012a).

This lack of certification process in field hockey has possibly leaded to an influx of
masks being approved for use in the sport by the governing body. That may provide
inadequate protection leading to significant chance of fractures of the facial structure
with the possibility of death. There is also a chance of catastrophic failure that they may
increase damage through fragmentation and piercing of the ocular regions.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


1.2. Facial Structure:

As the masks primary role is to prevent fracture of the facial structure in the event of a
ballistic impact a significant background of the bone structure is required.

The human face is a complicated skeletal structure with a number of key bones that can
cause permanent injury if damaged. For this report we will mainly concentrate on the
major forward facing bones due to their likelihood of impact.


The above figure shows the skeletal structure of a fully grown adult, as previously
stated this paper is looking primarily into the main frontal facing bones including the
Zygoma (Cheek bone), Zygomatic Arch, Nasal, Mandible and the Frontal (Skull Cap)

It is also worthwhile investigating the Temporal bone commonly referred to as the
temple. Not all players are fearless; some shy away or turn, in the saving motion
leading them to expose the side of the head to potential damage. The temple or
temporal bone contains a number of vital structures including the facial nerve, jugular
vein, carotid artery and more (March, 2013). Severe blunt force damage to this area can
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


result in severe injury such as facial nerve paralysis, hearing loss, cereberospinal fluid
otorrhea and a range of others (March, 2013).

1.3. Bone Tolerance to Fracture:

To quantitatively assess the damage to the facial structure under ballistic impact it is
necessary to know the force tolerances for all bones in question.

A number of previous studies have attempted to compile these but due to the range of
variations across the population (Age, Health, Gender and physical structure) it is
difficult to gain a clearly defined boundary. Though Table 1 lists the range of tolerances
compiled from previous studies by Hampson (1995).


1.4. Permanent Damage from Fracture:

The advancement of maxillofacial surgery has improved substantially over the last
decade but there still exists the possibility of severe long-term complications post-
surgery. These complications can severely affect the individual involved by damaging
their way of life and impacting on their ability to return to work after severe trauma.

Superficial damage including cuts and lacerations can generally be repaired through
stitches and plastic surgery if required. In the case of a facial fracture it generally
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


requires serious and invasive surgery to correct without guarantee that it will be

1.5. FIH Equipment Standards:

In relation to the introduction of masks in hockey the sports governing body employed
a third party company to design a set of criteria which masks are required to conform to
before being approved for play at international competition. This document was referred
to as the Draft Criteria. (The International Hockey Federation, 2012) Although it has
not been released publicly, it is being used to ban masks from use in international

On review of the Draft Criteria it is the Authors opinion that there are a number of
areas for concern that need to be identified and addressed by FIH to create an effective
means of assessing and evaluating the merits of a mask for use within the sport.

The primary objective of the criteria is to approve masks that not only properly protect
the wearer as intended, but that should be of such design that it presents no potential
danger to unprotected players in the event of collision. (The International Hockey
Federation, 2012)

But the criteria are flawed in rule 3.2.3 the hockey ball. Can reach velocities up to
and including 70 Km/h (Approximately 19.5 m/s) which are not representative of
speeds being reached in current international level hockey, which as Tables 2 & 3 later
in the paper show are at times in excess of 140 km/h or 38 m/s. These velocities were
recorded at an Australian Hockey Team training session. This makes the draft criteria
immediately redundant and fundamentally flawed as this basis is used in the later
mentioned Potential Surface Compression test.

The true velocities in the sport approximately double the criterias specifications. This
may have led to an influx of masks into the market that do not protect against the high
velocity ballistic impacts that will be experienced. This places a large number of
individuals in potentially mortal danger with a false expectation their mask will protect
them; since it is approved for use in the sport it also places the governing body a legally
vulnerable position.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Dr a f t C r i t e r i a - R a t i n g S y s t e m

The draft criteria relies on a rating system for three key criteria Material Hardness,
Shape and Potential Surface Compression (Impact) with the score in each representing
either a mark of 1,2,3 or 7 with any facemasks/guards that have a combined rating of
seven or more will not be acceptable(The International Hockey Federation, 2012).
There are a number of issues with this rating system that are outlined below.

Firstly, there are inconsistencies in the Shape and Material Hardness rules. The shape
section states all edges and protrusions of forward facing components or those that
have the potential to be (The International Hockey Federation, 2012) should be
considered under the rules. Where Material Hardness section states the material
hardness rating for all components of the facemask/guard will be determined by taking
the highest value(The International Hockey Federation, 2012). The rating criteria are
shown below;



It is logical to only consider components that are forward facing or likely to be involved
in an on field collision rather than any component in the mask. FIH recognise this in the
Shape section but is then disregarded in the Material Hardness section. It is irrational for
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


a mask to be denied approval based on a hard component that in no likely collision
poses a threat to either player.

There is also a third area for rating known as Potential Surface Compression this is
the process of testing aimed to measure the danger a face mask presents to a player in a
collision. This involves the dropping of a ball at various heights (1.9m 1.0m and 0.25m
to represent 70, 50 and 25 kph) (The International Hockey Federation, 2012) into air
dried clay and comparing the indentation to a mask fitted to a standard head form and
dropped from 110 mm. This is flawed as a ball dropped from 1.9m will not achieve a
speed of 70kph as suggested and also basic oversights such as clay hardness that will
affect this test.


Lastly, the additions of ratings seem unsound. While items A, B and C may exhibit a
risk on their own, ratings should only be added if they directly impact each other. This
is not the case for the draft criteria. For example consider 2 masks;

Mask A: Has a front face constructed of a hard material that scores a rating of three with
a small edge radius of 4mm also scoring a rating of 3. This results in a mask with a total
rating of 6 which will be approved for use.

Mask B: Has a greater edge radius scoring a rating of 2 but has a hard flat fastener in an
unlikely impact zone scoring a rating of 7. Resulting in a score of 9 and in turn being
banned from competition.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Here mask A intuitively presents more of a danger to players on the field due to the
small impact edge and high hardness yet mask B under the criteria will be banned solely
due to the use of a hard flat fastener. This is evidence that the rating system is vitally
flawed and needs to be improved.

It is therefore recommended to find an improved way of rating the masks by for
example breaking it into elements (Cage, strapping system, fasteners) as opposed to the
facemask as a whole.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


2. Literature Review:

2.1. State of the Art:

Over the years masks have been designed and constructed for a number of sports
including, but not limited to, cricket, baseball and hockey. Below is a brief overview of
the ones that have recently been used in hockey, or designed specifically for hockey use.

K P R F a c e P r o t e c t o r C a g e s t y l e ( B a n n e d ) :

The KPR face protector was originally designed for use in cricket for wicket keepers.
The basis of the design was to prevent keepers having to wear batsman helmets. While
it hasnt been used extensively in cricket it found an unlikely market in hockey. The
Australian Mens Hockey Team used these masks in international tournaments prior to
2011 at which time FIH banned their use stating they are a danger if players collide.

Figure 7 - KPR Face Protector(Cricket, 2012)

However there is anecdotal evidence that these masks provide a significant level of
protection. Ex-Australian player, Luke Doerner, was hit during the Dutch domestic
competition, by an international level flicker, while wearing one of these (Doerner,
2010). He received no injury and was able to keep playing on immediately after the
impact. While the speed of the impact wasnt recorded it is approximated at 105 km/hr
knowing the flicker was the Netherlands Roderick Weustoff who has been previously
scouted by the Australian National Team.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Even though banned, this mask is included in the state of the art as it demonstrates a
couple of key concepts in ballistic protection. One, the wire cage prevents the projectile
from entering the mask and hitting the wearer and two, the deformation/travel in the
wire and foam on the frontal bone and mandible increase the impact time thus
decreasing peak force and thirdly, the large contact area on the face and mainly the
frontal bone. The frontal bone is significantly stronger than any other frontal facing
bone and the large surface area means the force is distributed over a large region also
limiting the chance of lacerations and fracture.

It was found to be in breach of the Draft criteria for the approval of hockey field
players facemasks (The International Hockey Federation, 2012) under rule 3.2.2
Shape which states Facemasks/guards should have no protrusions or bars which was
introduced after the mask was banned.

P l a t e S t y l e Ma s k :


The Plate style mask shown above in Figure 8 is one of the most widely used
particularly in domestic competition due to its cheap cost and is released under a
number of various brands. There is video evidence that these masks may shatter on an
impact exceeding 70 miles per an hour or 116 kilometres per an hour (OBO Hockey,
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


2010). This is cause for concern as speeds in penalty corner situations reach, or exceed,
these velocities. It may actually present a more dangerous situation than no mask due to
penetrating damage to the ocular regions by plastic fragments on fracture. These videos
have been released on OBO Hockeys FaceOff True Story website

OB O F a c e o f f V 1 :


The mask featured above is arguably the most widely used mask on the international
stage at the moment. This mask was released a number of years ago and is widely used
because players believe it is the safest currently available and provides good vision.
Made from polyurethane plastic it fulfils all the regulations outlined in the Draft
Criteria. Although it has some design problems, for example, the eyeholes or goggles
as OBO term it sit substantially off the face. This enables the mask to clear the nose but
means when the player looks down their vision is obstructed. Also depending on the
individuals facial structure there may be limited distance between the mask and nose
allowing for very little travel or deformation of the mask before facial impact.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


OB O F a c e Of f V 2 :


Lastly, the mask in Figure 10 is the OBO Faceoff V2. This mask was released 2 years
ago and gained rapid popularity within the hockey community. In the design process
OBO put this mask through 70 mph impact tests and the mask did not fracture and
stayed securely fastened to the head form. Shortly after the release FIH informed all
national associations that the mask was banned as these masks do not closely fit the
face and is not smooth and was to be dangerous to other players (England Hockey,
2011). It was not allowed to be used in any domestic or international competition as of
the 7
of March 2011 (England Hockey, 2011). It was banned under the draft criteria
rule 3.2.2 where any forward facing part must have an external radius not less than
3mm.(The International Hockey Federation, 2012). The ridge in question is
highlighted in the above figure.

This mask was then redesigned by OBO to fulfil the requirements of rule 3.2.2. OBO
changed the ridges radius to 4mm - just greater than the minimum stated by the draft

This adjusted design was again presented to the FIH for approval but was again rejected
on the opinion of the FIH medical committee stating the overall profile of the mask in
question is not smooth. The various ridges (especially at the brow and even with a
larger radius) are considered potentially dangerous (Webb, 2011).

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


2.2. Standards System

The problems with the design and manufacture of the OBO FaceOff V2 exemplified the
issues associated with the sports current design criteria and processes. Manufacturers
have rough guidelines to design within but can still be banned on individual merit by the
sports governing body and its associated medical committee. This has led to companies
stopping product research and development due to concerns that any product developed
may be banned (Barnett, 2010) even after fulfilling all design criteria.

These reasons alongside the need for player confidence in the masks they are wearing
create a need for the implementation of a standards system. If the governing body is
unable to implement a standards system due to prohibitive costs or time constraints it is
suggested to piggyback onto the HECC or CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
standards in Ice Hockey, which test in accordance to ASTM F513-12. This allows for a
clear and definitive standards system and all costs of certification are solely the
responsibility of the manufacturers.

The most applicable existing standard is the previously mentioned ASTM F513-12
Standard Specification for Eye and Face Protective Equipment for Hockey Players. This
standard addresses a number of key criteria that would also be applicable in Field
Hockey including the testing of Peripheral Fields of Vision, Optical Quality Field of
Vision, Load Bearing area, Contact and Toughness (ASTM International, 2012a).

Peripheral Fields of Vision are measured using a photosensors in the head form, at each
40 degree step in the horizontal direction the mask is moved between the range of 35
degrees downward and 60 degrees upward. If the photosensor reads below a specified
threshold it will register a blind spot which can be analysed at the conclusion of the
testing.(ASTM International, 2012a)

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Next is the Load bearing area for the mask is the area that the face protector will rest on
the face that is not part of the existing helmet. The specifications are shown in Figure


Though most importantly is the Contact and Toughness testing of the masks. Each
model must undergo 6 tests (3 Contact and 3 toughness) using a different sample for
each test. A puck is fired at 101 kph at the centre of eye, centre of mouth and side
(defined as halfway between the mouth and eye level 25 degrees to the median plane)
though for ease of the reader it is approximately the cheek bone.

To pass the contact test a pressure sensitive paste is applied to the head form and after
each test checked for coloration. If there is no change in colour of the paste impact did
not occur and the mask passes the test.

To pass the toughness test after each impact there must be no breakage of structural
components, joints of attachment or chipping of surface coatings (ASTM International,

These Standards have been used for a number of years and are extensively researched
and backed by the HECC and CSA proving the confidence of the Ice Hockey Industry
in their use.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


With the velocities in Ice Hockey exceeding those of Field Hockey and the puck weight
of 6oz. (MonsterPuck, 2013) approximately 175 grams comparable to 160 grams in
field hockey. These specifications ensure that a mask that is suitable for use in Ice
hockey is also safe for use in field hockey.

2.3. Parallel Technologies

While the area of Field hockey facemasks has not been thoroughly investigated, its key
concepts parallel a number of existing technologies in the field of force mitigation and
ballistic protection, including but not limited to, Transparent Military Ballistic Armour,
Crash Limitation Technology (SAFER Barrier) and Ice Hockey Visors.

T r a n s p a r e n t B a l l i s t i c A r mo u r

The world is a hostile place with a large number of Australian and American troops
deployed in countries such as Afghanistan and Egypt (Royal Australian Army, 2013b)
and the need for ballistic armour for the protection of soldiers and vehicles is as
necessary as ever. Exemplified by projects such as the Australian Defence Forces
Diggerworks to design a Soldier Combat Ensemble which includes items such as
body armour (Royal Australian Army, 2013a).

Of particular notice is Transparent Armour Systems for vehicles. A number of the key
design criteria outlined by (Grujicic et al., 2011) are similar to that required in the
design of an effective facemask;

Distortion-free and durable surfaces for optical clarity/transparency.
High single- and multi-hit ballistic resistance
High-wear/low-velocity impact-scratch/damage resistance
High performance to cost ratio

Transparent Armour Systems for military uses originally consisted of a number of glass
plates laminated and backed with a polycarbonate. With the improvement of rounds
(Bullets) and an increase in requirements for multi hit protection these panels became
prohibitively big leading to large increases in vehicle weight, reduction in cabin space
and loss of optical clarity (Grujicic et al., 2011).
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


So a new approach was needed and typically consists of 3 distinct layers each with a
specific purpose.


The outer most layer consists of a projectile-blunting/eroding/fragmenting hard strike
face (Grujicic et al., 2011). This layer attempts to dissipate the energy of the round
either by, blunting it so it minimises penetration or fragmenting the round into smaller
pieces, each carrying less force then the original round.

The middle layer is a energy absorbing, crack arresting, thermal-expansion-mismatch
intermediate layer (Grujicic et al., 2011). This layer attempts to stop the fracture of the
outer layer by providing crack arresting properties on impact, and also to absorb the
energy of the now blunted or fragmented round. Depending on the level of protection
required the projectile blunting and crack arresting layers are repeated.

And the last layer is debris containment spall-liner/backing this layer simply stops any
fragmentation or remaining projectile from penetrating into the vehicles cabin.

The hard strike face and crack arresting layers are of particular importance in the design
of a field hockey facemask. The outer most layer must resist fracture and deformation
on impact attempting to deflect the projectile while the crack arresting layer will
increase the stiffness of the outer layer, provide crack arresting properties and prevent
fragmentation if catastrophic failure does occur.

C r a s h L i mi t a t i o n T e c h n o l o g y ( S A F E R B a r r i e r ) :

Motor racing is a worldwide sport with international competition in the form of Formula
1 and various national competitions such as Americas NASCAR. With the
advancement of motor vehicle technology the speeds achieved during races has risen
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


substantially resulting in more severe accidents leading to a call for greater safety
requirements to the drivers and spectators (Ried et al., 2002).

This resulted in the improvement of chassis design for example the carbon monocoques
used within Formula One, the implementation of the HANS (Head and Neck Support)
device, designed to prevent basilar skull fracture, and the improvement of safety
barriers, most notably the SAFER Barrier that was first introduced in 2002 for an Indy
500 race.

The major issue of non-deformable barriers is as the angle of impact increases with
reference to the wall the deceleration of the vehicle and the driver becomes increasingly
severe. This is due to the relatively fast (short) impact time in the collision due to the
barriers rigidity. If this can be increased it leads to notable decreases in deceleration of
the vehicle and occupants and significantly lower forces.

The creators of the SAFER barrier noted that serious injuries and fatalities could be
mitigated through the use of a deformable modular barrier opposed to the non-
deformable concrete barriers that were commonly used. While the SAFER barrier was
designed with oblique angled impacts in mind (more parallel then perpendicular with
reference to wall orientation) the general concepts involved are the same.

The investigation and design of the SAFER barrier concentrated on two materials
HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) plates and crushable foam (Ried et al., 2002). These
two materials were chosen due to their high-energy absorption potential the HDPE
plates though buckling and bending and the crushable foams uniform deformation on

The use of these energy-absorbing deformable materials leads to a longer impact time
like stated earlier leading to a slower deceleration of the vehicle. This is shown in the
Figure 13
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



As it can be seen in Figure 13 the SAFER barrier by McGehee lowers the impact
accelerations by around 60%. While the final design varied significantly from the
original concept it still maintains its key principles.

During the initial design stage these materials were used almost exclusively on their
own as shown in Figure 14.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


a) Shows the HDPE panel design tensioned by steel cables and b) shows the crushable
foam construction. Both of these designed proved problematic lacking in a number of
key criteria(Ried et al., 2002).

Low friction: If the friction between the vehicle is too high it may cause the
vehicle to grip and spin or cause more severe decelerations.
Puncture and bending strength: If the vehicle penetrates the barrier and impacts
the wall the problem of extreme decelerations still exists.
Ability to transfer load to large number of cartridges.

While two out of the three criteria arent applicable to hockey facemasks, the puncture
and bending strength is crucial. If the projectile penetrates or deforms the mask
substantially this will lead to injury as the ball will directly impact the face negating any
other protection methods in place.

The SAFER barrier was ultimately refined to Figure 15.


It consists of three layers. The front surface is steel tubing, this is to prevent penetration
into the foam system and lower the friction between the vehicles and surface. The
second layer is the energy-absorbing foam, allowing for deformation and lowering of
accelerations. The third is the existing concrete barrier. This generally exists at tracks
and is mainly there to mount the SAFER system and prevent the vehicle entering the
spectator zone.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


So, the key principles to be gained from the design of the SAFER barrier are the need
for an energy-absorbing medium to lower the peak forces transferred to the individual,
the bending strength requirement to prevent penetration of the impact face to ensure
energy absorbing medium is 100% utilised.

To achieve this, these principles need to be the key focus when designing the mask
seats. That is the areas where the mask is in contact to the face prior to impact. These
are the locations that forces will be transferred to the face through the mask succeeds in
preventing facial impact.

I c e Ho c k e y P r o t e c t i o n V i s o r :

Ice Hockey is a professional sport and has gained worldwide popularity due to its fast
pace. In recent times it has received criticism for safety standards, most notably the lack
of facial protection, namely eye protection for players (Petchesky, 2013).

In response, the American Hockey League (AHL) committee came to the decision to
mandate eye protection to protect up and coming players from career and life impacting
injuries. While the National Hockey League (NHL) hasnt followed suit more and more
players are beginning to wear eye and face protection (Petchesky, 2013). This could be
attributed to the influx of players from the AHL ranks (Wilder, 2013), or the increasing
media exposure (Petchesky, 2013), and impact that career ending eye injuries are having
on raising concern of the existing playing group.

Initially eye and face protection was provided through the use of a Cage system
shown in Figure 16.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


While these masks provide significant protection for the individual they also bring rise
to a number of problems. The number one concern being vision, the bars obstruct the
players view of the puck and can be distracting (ChrisK, 2013). Full cages in the NHL
have also been banned under rule 9.6 Dangerous Equipment requiring players to have
approval by the NHL to wear full them due to the danger they present in a collision.

Ultimately these were superseded by the half visor shown below in Figure 17.


These initially had problems with fogging, reducing player vision, and was/is regularly
used as defence against the mandating of facial protection. With the improvement in
lens technology and coatings, low optical clarity and fogging are non-existing problems.
These visors are approved under ANSI Z87.1 for impact resistance and optical clarity.

While these have been approved to the ANSI Z87.1 standard there has already been
direct evidence in the sport supporting the case for mandatory protection. Francois
Beauchemin was hit by a shot that was close to 90 mile per an hour (Oakley Inc, 2011).
The visor remained in one piece, and he only received stitches to his eyebrow. In his
opinion, he couldve lost his eye or broken the bone (Oakley Inc, 2011). Drew Doughty
is another player who has been hit by a stray puck. While wearing a visor, with Gord
Miller saying, Well never know for sure, but after watching a shot hit Drew Doughty
in the visor, its quite likely that the shield saved Doughtys eye, (Oakley Inc, 2012a).
This technology shows that the use of plastics in facial protection may be possible with
effective design.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


I c e Ho c k e y Go a l T e n d e r Ma s k

Goal Tender masks are arguably the most important piece of the protective equipment
used by an Ice Hockey Goal Tender with this in mind they have evolved over the years
to what they are today. Figure 18 shows the Bauer Concept 2 helmet released in 2013.


These masks are constructed from an extremely resilient and light weight carbon fibre
shell to provide optimal strength. It also utilises a steel flat wire system for the cage, this
minimises the profile of the wires to the wearer and increases the effective thickness to
increase bending strength on impact opposed to the standard round wires. The angular
profile of the mask also encourages the ball to deflect upon impact this minimises the
force transferred to the wire or shell. Lastly the inner foam layers are a purpose built
impact absorbing foam known under its trade name as PORON XRD. This foam is
comfortable during general use but when impact occurs it hardens up to distribute the
force over a greater area (Rogers Corporation, 2013) .

Every one of these properties could be used in the design of new field hockey face mask
if the governing body allowed the use of metal cages in their construction.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


2.4. Conclusions to be made

As stated previously, while no real investigation has been made into field hockey
facemasks there are a number of key points to be gained from the analysis of existing
parallel technologies. The SAFER barrier and transparent armour systems both followed
the same basic principles to dissipate force.

Hard Strike faces: Prevent the projectile from entering the energy dissipation
zone, or at least fragment it.
Energy dissipation zone: This is where the energy of the projectile is lowered
through the use of deformable foam creating a more gradual deceleration
creating less impulse in the impact in the example of the SAFER barrier. The
use of a polymer layer in transparent ballistic armour was used to provide crack
arresting properties and can be implemented in prototype design.
A spall backing or lining to prevent any remaining fragments from entering the
vehicle or crowd in these examples.

These fundamental principles may be implemented in the design of a new and
innovative face mask to provide effective protection for players. The outmost layer is
the strike face needs to be strong and durable; due to the proximity to the face any
fracture may cause severe injury.

An elastomer could also be incorporated in the visor design to provide crack arresting
properties. It will also keep the mask in a single piece when catastrophic failure does
occur to prevent fragments from separating from the bulk.

The effectiveness of polycarbonates in the construction of Ice Hockey Half Visors to
reach ANSI Z87.1 specifications and to be proven on field, particularly in the cases of
Francois Beauchemin and Drew Dougherty, demonstrates that there are materials on the
market that are easily constructed, that can withstand high energy collisions without
fracture. These represent a promising lead for the design and construction of an
effective facemask.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


3. Force Approximation:

Next it was required to gain an approximate value of the forces involved through a basic
theoretical calculation using the following equation;

To use this equation an estimate for the impact time was made. It was envisaged this
study will be for the benefit and application at the elite level meaning that players will
have very small amounts of facial fats and assuming a rigid position with no extension
through the neck during impact (Worst Case Scenario) an extremely small impact time
of 0.001 seconds was chosen.

The second assumption made was a purely elastic collision while this is not true in the
real world it again simulates the worst-case scenario.

The other two variables are velocity and mass, velocities were measured at an
Australian Mens Hockey Team training session through the use of a Prospeed CR-1K
radar gun by Decatur Electronics. Four flickers and hitters were selected with 5 shots
each the Mean and 95% confidence interval were then calculated using the following
equation and tabulated in Tables 2 and 3.


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Flicker Mean
A 115.8 112.26 119.3
B 104.3 90.5 118
C 112.3 108.3 116.2
D 105 102.3 107.7

Hitter Mean
A 120.25 117.3 123.2
B 135.5 128.6 142.4
C 118.3 111.5 125
D 138.7 134.1 143.4

From the above data it was found that the maximum velocity of a flick was around 120
Kilometres per an hour (33.3 m/s) and maximum velocity of a hit was about 142
kilometres per an hour (39.44 m/s). It is worth noting that this is in severe disagreement
with the speeds stated in the draft criteria (The International Hockey Federation, 2012)
of 70 km/h (19.6 m/s). Unfortunately due to the limits of the radar it cannot be attained
at what point during the balls travel this is measuring.

The last variable is the mass of a field hockey ball, rule 3.1.c (International Hockey
Federation, 2010a) states the ball weighs between 156 and 163 grams therefore the
approximate force of impact can be found as;

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


4. Risk Function Creation

A risk function was modelled based on a previous study (Cormier et al., 2006) creating
an approximating function for the percentage failure of bones across the entire

The objective of this project is to find if the amount of protection that field hockey
masks provide is adequate. While the force of the impact will most likely be measured
in Newtons (N) this is not intuitively linked to the severity of injury caused.

Therefore a risk function was developed that predicts the percentage of the population
that will fracture under a specified range of forces. A review of facial injuries
(Hampson, 1995) compiled the table of bone tolerances provided earlier at Table1.

These ranges are representative of the entire population and needed to be adjusted to
simulate the hockey playing population generally 20-30 year old male and females. It
has been found previously that 70-80 year olds have a 20-30% decrease in bone strength
when compared to the target population (Yamada and Evans, 1970). It has also been
found that females have a considerably lower tolerance for bone fracture than males
(Gadd et al., 1968) and has been advised that it play a crucial part in the practical
application of bone tolerances for design (Hampson, 1995).

Unfortunately due to constraints placed on the project only young fit male bone
tolerances will be investigated. A female design criterion is an avenue for future work.

4.1. Male Risk Function Criteria

As stated previously (Yamada and Evans, 1970) found that 70-80 year olds have 20-
30% less bone strength when compared to 20-30 year old. This implies that the upper
thresholds in Table 1 are correct for the 20-30 year old demographic while the minimum
need adjusting, this was done through a simple calculation shown below.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



X = Population Minimum
Y = Adjusted minimum (20 to 30 year old demographic)

Giving the following bone tolerances for the 20-30 year old males;
Bone Maximum (N) Minimum (N)
Minimum (N)
Frontal 6494 1000 1250
Nose 450 342 427.5
Maxilla 1801 668 835
Mandible 1779 685 856.25
Zygomatic Arch 1779 890 1112.5
Zygoma 2401 489 611.25

Once the data range had been found a normal distribution is applied to it using
Microsoft Excel using the inbuilt function NORMDIST based on the following formula.

( )




Using the calculated mean;

And Standard deviation approximation;

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


This gives the final criteria of the male risk function in Table 5;

(N) Mean (N)
Frontal 6494 1250 3872 874
Nose 450 427 438 3.75
Maxilla 1801 835 1318 161
Mandible 1779 856 1317 153
Arch 1779 1112 1445 111.
Zygoma 2401 611 1506 298

4.2. Risk Function Plot

With a normal distribution applied to the ranges and standard deviations outlined in
Table 5 a cumulative probability function can then be calculated by simply integrating
the area between 0 and force x of the previous function.
Excel calculated this simply by the adding of magnitudes from 0 through to the upper
threshold of each bone giving the risk function in Figure 19.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



To use this function when a force has been calculated the intercept between this value
and the corresponding bone gives the percentage chance of fracture on the Y-axis. With
the means of assessing the performance of masks created the experimental process is
outlined next.

5. Test Rig Design and Construction:

As stated previously to realistically simulate a ballistic impact similar to that in hockey
it was required to design a test rig that effectively models the impact dynamics that
would be experienced. Key elements of the design include the shape and weight of the
head form used this will be in line with ASTM F429 10(ASTM International, 2010)
which specifies the use of a standard head form with a combined mass of 5.5 Kg
500g, it is also desirable for a neck system that provides realistic motion.

Due to the large number of variables involved in the real life neck system, for example
the individuals musculoskeletal state, their awareness and bravery all of which may
lead to an increase or decrease in stiffness at the time of impact. Therefore it is
impossible to create a perfect system to test the impacts and compromises were made.
Three test rig designs were considered;

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Spring Tension System
Rubber Tendon

R i g i d :

The completely rigid test rig was a simple design it simply consisted of a standard head
form rigidly mounted to an immoveable surface. The main advantage of the rigid
system is the ease of construction as there is minimal work required and the rig would
be extremely robust.

The main problem with this design was its unrealistic impact dynamics. There is no
flexion/extension through what should be the neck, creating an almost elastic collision
where the forces experienced are likely to be substantially higher than actually

S p r i n g T e n s i o n S y s t e m :

Unlike the rigid system the spring tension system allows for neck movement throughout
the impact. It was realised that to simulate a realistic impact it was required that the
head-form move during the impact and the resistance to this movement to be
representative of the resistance provided by the musculo-skeletal system of a 20-30 year
old hockey player.

A spring tension system allows for an easily adjustable resistance to flexion/extension.
This is achieved through a number of springs being mounted to the base of the head
form and to the ground through bolts, as the bolts are tightened the springs extended
increasing the resistance. This allows for precise tensioning of the system to a defined
resistance but was envisaged to be extremely difficult to manufacture, costly and
definitive data for resistance required was impossible to locate.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


R u b b e r T e n d o n :
The tendon system uses a flexible rubber tendon shown in Figure 20 to mount the head
form to a rigid surface. The universal joint allows for motion through the neck to
approximately simulate the impact. The advantage of this system is its relative ease of
manufacture while also providing somewhat realistic motion through the neck.


We i g h t e d a n a l y s i s o f t e s t r i g s :

A weighted analysis of the proposed test rigs was undertaken with each of 3 key criteria
(Ease of Manufacture, Realism and Cost) being given a weighting. Each rig was given a
score between 1 and 5 with 1 being the best in each category this was then multiplied
the criterias weighting (bracketed value) and summed. The lowest score of the test rigs
provided the most effective solution.

Rig Type Ease of
Spring Tension 5 1 5 48
Tendon 2 2 2 24
Rigid 1 5 1 24
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


As it can be seen both the Tendon and Rigid systems achieved a score of 24, the tendon
system was ultimately chosen due to its more realistic impact dynamics.

The constructed Tendon test rig is shown below; it was housed in a polycarbonate
enclosure to limit the chance of damage or injury to any nearby individuals.


He a d C r e a t i o n :

Due to limited budget the head form had to be created in-house rather than purchasing a
purpose built and designed one. A fibreglass mannequin head was purchased and
modified to fulfil this need.

The head of the mannequin purchased was too narrow requiring widening to allow the
masks to fit correctly. Bulk was added to the mannequin through the addition of
Septone Car Filler. This was applied in layers to key areas of the head (Jaw, Cheeks and
forehead) to reach a thickness and cranial shape similar to that of fully-grown hockey
player. Once general bulk was achieved it was sanded down to a smooth surface to
allow for easy fixing of force measuring devices in the testing stage. Before and after
images are shown below.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



6. Ballistic Testing (Experimental Chapter)

6.1. Method

Ballistic testing of each off-the-shelf mask was undertaken using the following

An international level Kookaburra hockey ball was fired from a Bola ball machine at
maximum velocity from a range of 1 metre at the test rig. The impact was viewed using
a high speed camera at right angle from the impact vector at a distance of 4 metres.
Pressurex-micro film was placed on mask contact zones to approximate force
distribution if registered. A ruler with 10cm markings was placed slightly in the
foreground to provide a measurement reference when analysing the results. The
experimental schematic is shown in Figure 23.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



Velocities both pre and during impact can be measured through analysis using the
cameras AOS Imaging Studio V3. These numbers formed the basis of analysis and
relation to the risk function described earlier in Chapter 4.

6.2. Materials

Hi g h - S p e e d C a me r a

The high-speed camera used in the experiment was an AOS Technologies S-MIZE with
a 75 mm C-mount Lens installed to limit geometric distortion. Capturing images at a
rate of 1000 fps (Frames per second) with a shutter speed of 100s (0.0001 seconds).
This camera is shown below;


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


B a l l Ma c h i n e

The ball machine used was a BOLA Hockey ball machine this uses two spinning
drive wheels to propel international level hockey balls at speeds of up to 100 km/h with
reasonable accuracy.


P r e s s u r e S e n s i t i v e F i l m

The pressure sensitive film used was Pressurex-micro Green 3 (50-450 PSI). This was
applied to the dummy under all areas where the mask rested on the face prior to impact.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


7. Results and Analysis

Using the imaging suite provided with the AOS camera it was possible to analyse the
impact frame by frame using the programs Point and click measurement tool. This
allowed velocity to be calculated by measuring the distance travelled between
consecutive frames.

Impact velocities when the ball strikes the face are approximated by measuring the
distance in the pre-impact frames (2 frames directly prior to impact). For example in the
Figure 26, impact velocity was found by measuring the distance between frames A and
B not B and C. While this will overestimate the velocity, as the ball will continue
decelerating between B and C, there is no feasible way to measure it more accurately
without a higher performance camera.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Impact times were measured by counting the number of frames from impact to the point
where the ball ceases forward movement. This is shown in Figure 27, it can be seen that
the ball/mask impacts the face in frame C and comes off the face in frame D leading to
an impact time of ~0.001 seconds based on the camera frame rate.


Unfortunately due to the majority of masks failing to keep the ball from impacting the
face very little force as transferred to the contact zones therefore the pressure films
recorded little in terms of results.

7.1. Results

Image sequences for all runs can be found in Appendix 1 from these velocities and
impact times were found and forces calculated based on the simple formula.
() ()


Results are shown on the following page in Table 7 with peak forces calculated from the
above equation in the right most columns.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



Frame Displacement
(cm) Velocity (Km/hr) Velocity (m/s)
Frame Distance
directly prior to face
impact (cm)
before Facial
contact (m/s)
Period (sec)
Force (N)
OBO V1 2.4 86.4 24 1.86 18.6 0.001 2976
OBO V2* 2.38 85.68 23.8 N/A N/A 0.003 1269
Mazon V1 2.41 86.76 24.1 1.95 19.5 0.001 3120
Mazon V2 2.61 93.96 26.1 1.42 14.2 0.001 2272
OBO V2 Run 2 2.62 94.32 26.2 1.74 17.4 0.001 2784
* No impact with head forms face hence
N/A values

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


7.2. Analysis/Discussion

Table 7 comprehensively shows the impact forces experienced by each of the off-the-
shelf masks tested in this paper. It can be seen that no mask prevented direct impact to
the face except for the OBO FaceOff V2 on one of the two occasions tested.
Unfortunately due to the limited resources only a single test was possible with each

Due to the limits of testing available due to resources and accuracy of ball machine it
was not possible to test impacts to each particular part of the face this is an area for
future work. So for the purpose of analysis against the risk function described in section
4.2, it will be assumed the forces approximated are independent of impact location.

The risk function has been included in Figure 28, the vertical lines representing the
forces experienced by each mask and the intersections with the risk functions
representing the chance of fracture on the Y-axis.


Due to printing most likely being in greyscale the intersections have been provided in
the following table.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Run 2
Nose 0.99 0.99 0.99 0.99
Zygoma 0.99 0.99 0.98 0.99
Zygomatic Arch 0.99 0.99 0.99 0.99
Mandible 0.99 0.99 0.99 0.99
Maxilla 0.99 0.99 0.99 0.99
Frontal 0.2 0.25 0.05 0.15

It can be seen that the current off-the-shelf masks based on the testing and assumptions
made in this experiment are providing little or no protection to any type of facial
fracture of the major bones except the frontal. Nevertheless there is still a substantial
chance of fracture of the frontal bone which is unacceptable due to the severity of injury
this may result in (Brain damage). This shows the need for further investigation into the
design of these masks to provide adequate protection.

7.3. Metal Cage Comparison

For the purpose of comparison, testing was also done using a metal Bauer Cat-Eye
cage under the same analysis process. While this is currently banned it provides useful
means for comparison between polymer and metal cage protection. The impact
sequence is shown below in Figure 29.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



This impact was at 93 kilometres per an hour and can be seen that there is little or no
deformation to the cage and the impact lasts for approximately 1 frame (0.001 seconds).
Though this means that the peak force is extremely high (4160 N) it is distributed across
the entire frontal bone and mandible through the chin cup. With smart material selection
like the use of energy absorbing foam similar to the SAFER barrier, the transfer of this
force to the skull can be lowered by lengthening the impulse time allowing for a lower
peak force.

8. Mask Design:

As the results in chapter 7 convey the current state of the art is grossly inadequate for
use in the sport. This chapter outlines the design process of a new and innovative
approach to field hockey protection drawing on existing parallel technologies. Due to
manufacturing and budget restraints it was required to create simple designs that were
easily produced and tested. This was done using a 4 stage process; Conceptual Design,
Preliminary Design and Detailed design and development and lastly Redesign and

8.1. Conceptual Design

A survey of existing Australian National squad members was undertaken to gain an
understanding of the primary concerns of players. They were asked to rank a number of
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


criteria from most to least important this enabled the design process to have clearly
defined primary objectives.

P l a y e r N e e d s :

The ranking of the surveys are shown below and were close to unanimous, with each
criterion having a brief outline.
Rank Criteria
1 Protection/Impact Resistance
2 Forward Vision
3 Peripheral Vision
4 Ease of Use
5 Comfort
6 Aesthetics

Protection/Impact Resistance: Listed as the main concern of the players is protection
for the face. It is required that the mask have a high impact resistance to prevent serious
injury to the player, ideally preventing lacerations and bone fractures particular through
the major bones such as mandible, zygoma and frontal.

Direct Vision: Direct vision was defined as the visibility provided by the mask when
the player is looking directly forward. As their position requires them to see and play at
a ball moving at significantly high velocities a clear line of sight is highly desirable if
not essential.

Peripheral Vision: Peripheral vision was defined as any sightlines that arent directly
forward of the skull; for example if the ball drops to the ground it may be difficult for a
player to locate the ball at his feet or nearby if these sight lines are obstructed.
Obstructions could include the mask sitting too far from the face and the distortion
created by refraction through a transparent material.

Ease of Use: Includes the ease that the mask can be put on or removed; umpires may
send a player off if they take too long to put on his equipment. Also at the end of the
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


play the mask must be removed before the player can participate further meaning that
removal must be quick and easy to ensure minimal delay in them returning to play.

Comfort: While ranked low the comfort of the mask is important; if it is irritating to the
player it may take their mind of the task at hand. But is probably more important from a
commercial view, if a mask is comfortable the buy will be more inclined to purchase it.

Aesthetics: Is simply the look of the mask this is included for commercial reasons and
also the vanity of players. It may also make the regulatory committee more inclined to
approve the mask if it looks clean and not dangerous.

P o s s i b l e De s i g n s :

The above findings lead to the identification of the 2 key design criteria, as expected the
need for protection rated as the most important to the players. This is achieved through
smart design choices using the same principles as the SAFER barrier. A hard strike face
to prevent the projectile making direct contact on the face and to dissipate force over a
large area this backed by an energy dissipating elastomer that provides crack arresting
properties. Contact zones on the face should be through an energy absorbing foam to
increase the impact time and decrease peak forces experienced.

The second key point is the need for clear vision both forward and on the periphery. To
create a clear unobstructed view for the player two methods were possible.

1. The first being vision modelling. This process involves modelling the edges of a
players vision and then designing the mask so the materials dont intrude into
these areas. This was found to be problematic, as the mask needs to sit
substantially away from the face to prevent it from deforming and impacting the
nose or other major facial bones. The impact of this clearance meant that
extremely large openings were required which would not prevent the ball
impacting the face.

2. The second option is the use of a transparent material in the construction of the
mask for example a high quality polycarbonate. This has been previously
employed in Ice Hockey in the design of the Half Visor and also in field
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


hockey masks shown in Mazon mask and the OBO Faceoff. The field hockey
masks have only implemented the concept in the periphery but with limited
success due to the large curves leading to significant refraction.

A design combining the two was selected, in line with the key design criteria, it was
decided to have no material directly in front of the players eyes leading to a clear
unobstructed view forward with no refraction. Below the eye line transparent
polycarbonate half Visor will be used to enable some peripheral vision while still
being distorted. Though the use of advanced manufacturing techniques may allow for
minimal distortion this is work for future investigation. Using the same concept as the
OBO V2 Faceoff the gap in material at eye line will be substantially less than diameter
of a hockey ball meaning without catastrophic failure or significant deformation the ball
shall not impact the face directly.

The remaining criterion, ease of use, comfort and aesthetics are all able to be designed
based on the masks overall structural shape.

8.2. Preliminary Design/Shell Profile

In-house design of an entirely new and purpose built field hockey mask would be ideal,
unfortunately due to budget and manufacturing limitations it is required to use existing
technology for the shell design. It was decided to modify existing goalkeeper helmets to
allow for an easier and safer product. The helmet modified in this design was a Bauer
Profile 1400 shown in Figure 30.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


The Bauer mask was modified by the removal of the back plate, as players are unlikely
to get hit here. It also makes the mask more difficult to wear and remove, which was
one of the key criteria identified by the playing group.

As stated in the section 8.1 the final design calls upon the idea used in the OBO V2
Faceoff. This will be achieved by the construction of a polycarbonate Visor that will
create a half cage allowing for a gap between the top of it and the bottom of the shell
substantially smaller than the balls diameter. This gives the wearer an unobstructed
view in the forward and lateral directions and the use of the clear polycarbonate allows
some peripheral vision to the wearer when looking down.

8.3. Detail Design and Development

As discussed in the previous section the mask design is going to consist of a
polycarbonate half cage mounted on an existing Bauer profile 1400 mask.

The creation of the visor due to limited manufacturing ability was done by the
thermoforming 3mm Bayer Makrolon polycarbonate coated in 3M ULTRA 400 safety
film. The safety film was applied as the Energy Dissipation zone discussed earlier. It
provides energy dissipation though stretching providing strain energy relief and
preventing fragmentation in the event of catastrophic failure.

A sharp profile was designed to induce deflection rather than direct impact. This limits
the forces experienced by the material and therefore transferred to the face through the

8.4. Redesign and Prototyping

On initial testing of the 3mm visor, it was found that substantial deformation was
occurring rather than deflection upon impact leading to large forces being transferred
directly to the face. This was attributed to two key points; one the visors bending
strength and stiffness are not high enough to induce deflection (this requirement was
outlined in the SAFER barrier) and secondly highlighted in Figure 31;

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks



The visor was mounted by a single fastener on the bottom edge this significantly
impacts the top edges bending strength meaning a substantially lower stiffness.

After initial testing the visor was redesigned to have 2 fasteners, one on both the top and
bottom edges along with 2 alternate designs in regards to thickness and shape were

1. Sharp profile 4 layers of polycarbonate film interlaid with 3M ULTRA 400
security film.
2. A slightly more gradual profile 3 layer with no 3M film.

The two mounted visors are shown in the Figure below, 4 layers filmed on the left and
the slightly more elliptical 3 layer on the right.


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Both these designs performed well in ballistic testing and are discussed further on in the

8.5. Prototype analysis

Analysis of the prototyped designs was undertaken using the exact same process as the
off-the-shelf testing. It can be seen from the image sequences below that both the 3 and
4 layer designs prevented facial impact. The increase in stiffness of the impact face
induced deflection theoretically minimising forces transferred through the shell.


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Frame Displacement
prior to
face impact
Impact Period
(sec) Peak Force (N)
Prototype 1 Layer 2.45 88.2 24.5 2.1 75.6 0.001 3360
Prototype 3 Layer 2.64 95.04 26.4 N/A N/A 0.002 2112*
Prototype 3 Layer No deflection 2.27 81.72 22.7 N/A N/A 0.003 1211*
Prototype 4 Layer Filmed 2.48 89.28 24.8 N/A N/A 0.003 1323*
* Due to deflection these forces are an overestimation
N/A cells mean that the ball did not make contact with the headform
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


Its worthwhile noting that for one particular impact on the 3-layer gradual curve
deflection was not induced. Rather the point of the visor was hit directly front on and all
forces were transferred to the mask contact zones on the frontal bone. This impact is
shown in Appendix 1 section 11.8. Though it did prevent impact to the face peak forces
would have been higher than a deflected impact experienced by the angular profile. This
demonstrates the worst-case impact scenario possible for this visor with the full force
being transferred to the material.

9. Conclusion and Recommendations

As shown in the previous chapters the results for the experiment are extremely
concerning and support the authors view that the current state of the art is not
acceptable for domestic let alone international hockey. The velocities of impacts in this
experimental setup were approximately 20% lower than the standard international level
flicker. Yet still the likelihoods in Table 8 categorically show that the use of any of the
current off-the-shelf masks would likely result in severe facial fractures and possible
lifelong injuries.

The design of the prototype mask and visor was in 1 view a success. The
implementation of the hard strike face (Polycarbonate) and energy dissipation zone (3M
Film) when applied in a layer system resulted in reduced deformation and forced the
ball to deflect rather than impacting the face when compared to the single layer design
and current masks. Though this does ultimately protect the player it raises further
issues; such a thick polycarbonate is expensive to purchase and manufacture in the
desired shape, it also results in substantial refraction impacting on the peripheral vision
requirement outlined by the playing group. It is the authors view that the use
polycarbonate in protective masks is unfeasible due to the above-mentioned reasons and
due to the unpredictable nature of polymers which fail statistically rather than the
predictable nature of metals.

It is worth noting that the banned Cat-Eye cage shown in Figure 29 performed
extremely well under the same ballistic conditions and resulted in little to no
deformation. This predictable behaviour allows for the implementation of smart design
principals like the use of energy absorbing foams to dissipate the force when it is
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


transferred to the contact zones. The behaviour of metals is also more predictable than
plastics and can continue to be used when no plastic deformation has occurred. The key
difference being the failure mechanisms, metals undergo a ductile failure process
absorbing energy through the plastic deformation while rigid plastics suffer brittle
fracture when the materials threshold has been exceeded.

While this paper shows that the use of plastics in the design of facial protection for
ballistic impact in hockey is possible. It is not a truly viable or safe option, the
thicknesses required to prevent direct facial impact are substantial (~10mm), costly to
manufacture and have substantial impact on player sight.

While the Author understands the governings body view on protecting players in a
player on player collision. Anecdotal evidence suggests these are extremely rare. The
greater onus must be placed on protecting the player who is deliberately placed in a
dangerous position due to the nature of the game.

It is therefore recommended that the use of metals and bars in the construction of masks
used to protect these players should be allowed. This will allow for a more predictable
and satisfactory level of protection. This technology has already been extensively tested
and proven in the sport of Ice Hockey.

It is also recommended that FIH implement a standards system as soon as possible to
prevent the design and manufacture of masks that dont provide suitable levels of
protection for international level competition (velocities of ~110-120 km/hr).

If the governing body is unable to implement a standards system due to prohibitive
costs or time constraints it is suggested to piggyback onto the HECC or CSA (Canadian
Standards Association) standards in Ice Hockey, which test in accordance to ASTM
F513-12. This allows for a clear and definitive standards system and all costs of
certification are placed solely on the manufacturers.

Any severe injury is unacceptable and must be addressed particularly when there is
already suitable technology on the market to protect players involved.
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


10. Further Work

While this project proved that the current off-the-shelf masks were inadequate in
providing appropriate levels of protection there are a number of areas that require
further research.

Side Impact

The ballistic testing in this project was only undertaken from the frontal position,
majority of masks are designed to withstand. Unfortunately this appears to be an
oversight with most masks appearing to have very little in the way of force mitigation
for a side impact.

This is particularly concerning due to the fragility of the players Temporal Bone which
is known to be a significant weakness in the human skull. Coupled with the fact that
most individuals instinctively turn their head before impact it is quite a likely place to
get hit.

Further investigation is required to ensure all is being done to protect this area of the
skull from severe impacts.

Individual Impact Zones

Due to the limitation in resources it was only possible to run one test on each mask.
This meant that the gross assumption that impact forces on the face are independent of
impact location needed to be made.

To ensure a more accurate analysis in the future it is recommended that a number of
masks are used and are corresponding with a major facial bone is impacted and forces
measured. This will give a more accurate and complete view of the masks performance.

True Velocity

This investigation used a ball machine at approximately 90 kilometres an hour; this is
about 20 kilometres lower then international standard flickers. Again for a more realistic
Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


experimentation the use of pneumatic cannon that can achieve these speeds is

Material Comparison

While this experimentation used readily available Polycarbonate there are a range of
high strength plastics that may be more suitable for impact protection. For example
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Acrylite and Hygard, the latter 2 are bullet
resistant so likely already implement the key principals outlined in the report.

It is suggested to select a range of suitable materials that can then be moulded or
manufactured into the designed shape and compared against one another.

Female Investigation

It also suggested that an investigation into the protection provided in womens hockey is
undertaken. Due to the substantially different bone strengths and velocities in womens
hockey an alternative design and solution may be found.

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


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Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11. Appendix 1 Image Sequences
11.1. OBO FaceOff V1



Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.2. OBO FaceOff V2 (Banned)


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.3. Mazon V1



Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.4. Mazon V2


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.5. OBO FaceOff V2 Run 2



Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.6. Prototype 1 Layer


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.7. Prototype 3 Layer


Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.8. Prototype 3 Layer No Deflection

Andrew Charter, 20617004, Design and Analysis of Hockey Face Masks


11.9. Prototype 4 Layer Filmed


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