Novel Tactical Ballistic Shield Technology: A Blast Injury Mitigation Evaluation


  • Geoffrey Thor Desmoulin University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; GTD Scientific Inc., Vancouver, Canada
  • Marc-André Nolette GTD Scientific Inc., Vancouver, Canada



blast, shield, injury, biomechanics, tactical


This study investigates the performance of a shield appliqué technology designed to protect the user from blast injury. This technology was compared against three other ballistic shields of varying mass using a fixed charge configuration. An instrumented anthropomorphic test dummy (ATD) was used along with pressure sensors to determine injury risk. Results showed that lighter shields offered less protection than their heavier counterparts with higher probability of head, chest, arm and leg injuries. Additionally, when comparing the appliqué to a mass-matched shield, relevant loadings were reduced on average by 21 %. Overall, the ballistic shield appliqué technology shows promise for becoming a tool for blast mitigation in the short to medium term.


Author Biographies

Geoffrey Thor Desmoulin, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; GTD Scientific Inc., Vancouver, Canada

HLCol Geoffrey T. Desmoulin, PhD, RKin. (#2012080)

Dr. Desmoulin is the Principal and Senior Biomechanist of GTD Scientific Inc. ( GTD offers Biomechanical Consulting Services on behalf of clients throughout North America, as well as abroad. Focused practice areas include Injury Biomechanics, Incident Reconstruction and Physical Testing with a sub-specialty in the Science of ViolenceTM. GTD is retained in significant complex injury litigation cases and is contracted to perform injury related product investigations regularly.

In addition, Dr. Desmoulin was selected from an international pool of applicants to be the science and engineering host for Viacom Networks hit television show “Deadliest Warrior”. In this high-profile position he assessed engineering aspects and injury potential of weapons used throughout history. The series filmed thirty-three episodes (1-hour format) and continues to air throughout the world in over sixteen countries and thirty-two different languages.

Marc-André Nolette, GTD Scientific Inc., Vancouver, Canada

Mr. Nolette has been an Associate Engineer at GTD Scientific ( for the past five years.  To compliment his Mechanical Engineering history, Mr. Nolette also has a Master's Degree in Kinesiology and expertise in physiology and medical research. The combined backgrounds has allowed him to be involved in the following practice areas of the company: Research and Development, Injury Biomechanics and Incident Reconstruction.


CULLIS, I. Blast Waves and How They Interact with Structures. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 2001, vol. 147, no. 1, p. 16-26. ISSN 0035-8665,

LUCCIONI, B.M., AMBROSINI, R.D. and DANESI, R.F. Analysis of Building Collapse under Blast Loads. Engineering Structures, 2004, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 63-71. ISSN 0141-0296,

RAMASAMY, A., HILL, A.M., HEPPER, A.E., BULL, A.M. and CLASPER, J.C. Blast Mines: Physics, Injury Mechanisms and Vehicle Protection. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 2009, vol. 155, no. 4, p. 258-264. ISSN 0035-8665,

WILLIAMS, K. and FILLION‐GOURDEAU, F. Numerical Simulation of Light Armoured Vehicle Occupant Vulnerability to Anti‐vehicle Mine Blast. In 7th International LS-DYNA users conference, 2002, vol. 6, p. 7-14.

MATHIS, J.T. and CLUTTER, J.K. Evaluation of Orientation and Environmental Factors on the Blast Hazards to Bomb Suit Wearers. Applied Ergonomics, 2007, vol. 38, no. 5, p. 567-579. ISSN 0003-6870,

SHANLEY, L.A., SLATEN, B.L. and SHANLEY, P.S. Military Protective Clothing: Implications for Clothing and Textiles Curriculum and Research. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 1993, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 55-59. ISSN 0887-302X,

PHILLIPS, Y.Y. Primary Blast Injuries. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 1986, vol. 15, no. 12, p. 1446-1450.

DESMOULIN, G.T. and DIONNE, J.-P. Blast-Induced Neurotrauma: Surrogate Use, Loading Mechanisms, and Cellular Responses. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2009, vol. 67, no. 5, p. 1113-1122. ISSN 1079-6061,

NIJ Standard 0108.01, Ballistic Resistant Protective Materials. US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 1985.

STONE, W.E. and SPENCER, D.J. Using Textbooks as Ballistic Shields in School Emergency Plans. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 2010, vol. 12, no. 4, p. 536-547. ISSN 1461-3557,

FADHEL, B.M. Numerically Study of Ballistic Impact of Polycarbonate. 2011 International Symposium on Humanities, Science and Engineering Research, 2011, p. 101-105.

SKEWS, B.W. and BUGARIN, S. Blast Pressure Amplification due to Textile Coverings. Textile Research Journal, 2006, vol. 76, no. 4, p. 328-335. ISSN 0040-5175,

PHILLIPS, Y.Y., MUNDIE, T.G., YELVERTON, J.T. and RICHMOND, D.R. Cloth Ballistic Vest Alters Response to Blast. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 1988, vol. 28, Supplement. ISSN 1079-6061.

DESMOULIN, G.T. and DIONNE, J.P. Blast Mitigation Status of Police Crowd Management Ensembles [on-line], White Paper, 2012. Available from: <>.

KAPUR, G.B., HUTSON, H.R., DAVIS, M.A. and RICE, P.L. The United States Twenty-Year Experience with Bombing Incidents: Implications for Terrorism Preparedness and Medical Response. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2005, vol. 59, no. 6, p. 1436-1444. ISSN 1079-6061,

LERNER, E.B. et al. Blast-Related Injuries from Terrorism: An International Perspective. Prehospital Emergency Care, 2007, vol. 11, no. 2, p. 137-153. ISSN 1090-3127,

STEWART, I.B., STEWART, K.L., WORRINGHAM, C.J. and COSTELLO, J.T. Physiological Tolerance Times while Wearing Explosive Ordnance Disposal Protective Clothing in Simulated Environmental Extremes. PLoS ONE, 2014, vol. 9, no. 2, p. 1-7. ISSN 1932-6203,

AEP-55 VOL 2 Ed. 2, Procedures For Evaluating The Protection Level Of Armoured Vehicles – Volume 2: Mine Threat. NATO Standard Agreement, 2011.

ELGY, I.D. et al. UK Ministry of Defence Technical Authority Instructions for Testing the Protection Level of Vehicles Against Buried Blast Mines. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Salisbury, 2014.

MAYORGA, M.A. The Pathology of Primary Blast Overpressure Injury. Toxicology, 1997, vol. 121, no. 1, p. 17-28. ISSN 0300-483X, DOI 10.1016/S0300-483X(97)03652-4.

RAFAELS, K.A. et al. Brain Injury Risk from Primary Blast. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 2012, vol. 73, no. 4, p. 895-901. ISSN 2163-0755,

BASS, C.R., RAFAELS, K.A. and SALZAR, R.S. Pulmonary Injury Risk Assessment for Short-Duration Blasts. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2008, vol. 65, no. 3, p. 604-615. ISSN 1079-6061,

LEIBOVICI, D., GOFRIT, O.N and, SHAPIRA, S.C. Eardrum Perforation in Explosion Survivors: Is It a Marker of Pulmonary Blast Injury? Annals of Emergency Medicine, 1999, vol. 34, no. 2, p. 168-172. ISSN 0196-0644, DOI 10.1016/S0196-0644(99)70225-8.

RITENOUR, A.E. et al. Tympanic Membrane Perforation and Hearing Loss From Blast Overpressure in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Wounded. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2008, vol. 64, no. 2, p. S174-S178. ISSN 1079-6061,

STEWART, C., JAGODA, A. and HOWELL, J.M. Blast Injuries: Preparing for the Inevitable. Emergency Medicine Practice+ Em Practice Guidelines Update, vol. 8, no. 4, 2006, p. 1-26. ISSN 1524-1971.

HYDE, D.W. ConWep, Conventional Weapons Effects Program. US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, 1991.

RAFAELS, K. et al. Survival Risk Assessment for Primary Blast Exposures to the Head. Journal of Neurotrauma, 2011, vol. 28, no. 11, p. 2319-2328. ISSN 0897-7151,

NEWMAN, J.A., SHEWCHENKO, N. and WELBOURNE, E. A Proposed New Biomechanical Head Injury Assessment Function – the Maximum Power Index [technical paper]. SAE Technical Paper, 2000, no. 2000-01-SC16, p. 215-247.

MARJOUX, D., BAUMGARTNER, D., DECK, C. and WILLINGER, R. Head Injury Prediction Capability of the HIC, HIP, SIMon and ULP criteria. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 2008, vol. 40, no. 3, p. 1135-1148. ISSN 0001-4575,

LEVIN, H.S., OʼDONNELL, V.M. and GROSSMAN, R.G. The Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test: A Practical Scale to Assess Cognition after Head Injury. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1979, vol. 167, no. 11, p. 675-684. ISSN 0022-3018,

EPPINGER, R. et al. Development of Improved Injury Criteria for the Assessment of Advanced Automotive Restraint Systems-II. Washington: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1999, p. 1-70.

CIVIL, I.D. and SCHWAB, C.W. The Abbreviated Injury Scale, 1985 Revision: A Condensed Chart for Clinical Use. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 1988, vol. 28, no. 1, p. 87-90. ISSN 1079-6061.

KELLER, W.K. et al. Rating the Severity of Tissue Damage: I. The Abbreviated Injury Scale. JAMA, 1971, vol. 215, no. 2, p. 277-280. ISSN 0098-7484.

BAKER, S.P. et al. The Injury Severity Score: A Method for Describing Patients with Multiple Injuries and Evaluating Emergency Care. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 1974, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 187-196. ISSN 2163-0755.

LAU, I.V. and VIANO, D.C. The Viscous Criterion-bases and Applications of an Injury Severity Index for Soft Tissues. SAE Technical Paper, 1986, no. 861882.

WINTERMARK, M. and SCHNYDER, P. The Macklin Effect: a Frequent Etiology for Pneumomediastinum in Severe Blunt Chest Trauma. CHEST Journal, 2001, vol. 120, no. 2, p. 543-547. ISSN 0012-3692,

HARDY, W.N., SCHNEIDER, L.W., REED, M. and RICCI, L.L. Biomechanical Investigation of Airbag-Induced Upper-Extremity Injuries. SAE Technical Paper, 1997, no. 973325.

NAHUM, A.M., and MELVIN, J. W. (eds). Accidental Injury: Biomechanics and Prevention. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.

MERTZ, H.J., IRWIN, A.L. and PRASAD, P. Biomechanical and Scaling Bases for Frontal and Side Impact Injury Assessment Reference Values. SAE Technical Paper, 2003, no. 2003-22-0009, p. 155.

LEVINE, R.S. Injury to the Extremities. In Nahum A.M. and Melvin J.W. (eds) Accidental Injury. New York: Springer, 2002, p. 491-522.

RUPP, J.D. et al. Development of New Criteria for Assessing the Risk of Kneethigh-hip Injury in Frontal Impacts Using Hybrid III Femur Force Measurements. In Proceedings of the 21st International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (Paper 09-0306), 2009.

YOGANANDAN, N. et al. Effects of Acceleration Level on Lumbar Spine Injuries in Military Populations. The Spine Journal, 2015, vol. 15, no. 6, p. 1318-1324.

DIONNE, J.P., NERENBERG, J. and MAKRIS, A. Reduction of Blast-induced Concussive Injury Potential and Correlation with Predicted Blast Impulse. In 17th International Symposium on Military Aspects of Blast and Shock (MABS 17), 2012.




How to Cite

Desmoulin, G. T., & Nolette, M.-A. (2019). Novel Tactical Ballistic Shield Technology: A Blast Injury Mitigation Evaluation. Advances in Military Technology, 13(2), 249–264.



Research Paper