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In addition to research innovation and collaboration, Team Wendy® places an emphasis on growing young talent. Each year we offer internships in various capacities, and in the fall of 2017, we asked Garrett Blum, then a sophomore at University School, to join us for an engineering internship. Together, our team of engineers collaborated with him to test a new helmet liner with higher standards in impact absorption technology. We’re proud to share that Garrett’s research won him multiple awards at the 2018 Ohio Science and Engineering Fair this spring. To weigh in more about his experience at Team Wendy and his award-winning research, here are some words from Garrett:
"For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be an engineer. I also happen to be an avid skier and biker. As such, I wanted to apply my passion for engineering to the two sports I love. Both skiing and biking can result in traumatic brain injuries, so wearing a safe helmet is incredibly important. Therefore, I set out to examine alternative helmet liners to maintain lower peak accelerations upon high-velocity impacts.
Fortunately for me, a leader in helmet design is Cleveland-based Team Wendy, and their team shares my passion and interest for a meaningful reason; the company was named after the founder’s daughter, Wendy, who tragically passed away following a traumatic brain injury sustained from a ski accident. Team Wendy agreed to help me design the test procedure and set engineering goals for this project. They also generously let me use their test equipment to generate data, and coached me in understanding and interpreting the raw data acquired.
Now at the conclusion of my sophomore year, along with Team Wendy engineers, I have run dozens of tests on two primary energy absorbing materials – expanded polystyrene and aluminum honeycombs. Additionally, I have analyzed both materials for total energy absorption capacity and peak acceleration. In March 2018, I presented my findings at the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair at Cleveland State University and was awarded second place in the engineering category, and received an award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Shortly after, I had the opportunity to present my research at the Ohio Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at Bowling Green State University.
I intend to continue my research in helmet design and optimization in the next year, and plan to compete again at the 2019 Ohio Science Fair as a junior. I hope to be able to publish my results and possibly file for a patent with Team Wendy as a co-inventor in the future. In all, I am very grateful for Team Wendy’s support and guidance along the way and am excited to see where this research takes us."
By Ron Szalkowski
Director, Product Development & Research Collaboration