Different types of helmets are used in mountain sports and in work safety. They differ in their construction and function and are therefore suitable for different applications. The construction can be roughly divided into three types: so-called hard shell helmets, in-mold helmets and hybrid helmets.
The requirements and test procedures for mountaineering helmets are laid down and described in the EN 12492 standard. An extract from the standard can be found here >
These helmets have an extremely robust and shockproof shell made of plastic, which extends over the entire outer helmet surface. In the past, shells made of glass-fibre reinforced plastic were mainly used, whereas nowadays mixtures of polypropylene and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) are mostly used. An internal strap construction increases the damping properties and ensures that the helmet does not sit directly on the head. Impact energy is absorbed by the elongation of the straps and the elastic deformation of the shell.
Thanks to its extremely stable construction and the mostly antibacterial straps, which can be easily removed and cleaned, this helmet form is particularly suitable for commercial facilities such as climbing centres and adventure parks.
Helmets with in-mold technology have a thin outer shell made of polycarbonate, which is firmly connected to a shock-absorbing EPS core (expanded polystyrene). Energy is absorbed by deformation of the EPS core. The polycarbonate shell protects the EPS core from damage and distributes the force over a larger area. Depending on the model, the outer shell may also only partially cover certain areas. In-mold or softshell helmets are particularly light, but also less robust than other helmet types. In-mold helmets can be easily damaged for example by carelessly sitting on the backpack with the helmet inside.
Hybrid helmets combine the advantages of the technologies of hard shell and in-mold helmets. The outer shell consists of a robust and shock-resistant plastic shell made of ABS. Inside, a foamed core made of EPS (expanded polystyrene) or EPP (expanded polypropylene) provides the best cushioning properties. Hybrid helmets are particularly robust all-rounders.