TPR is traditionally tested in lab environments, using boards, tiles, glass, and even carrots to replicate a human hand’s response to tremendous blows. Instead of the normal “smoke and mirrors” approach, RPS has invested in a team of scientists, academia experts (Biomechanical Engineers), and cadaver hands, to take on the responsibility of understanding both TPR and D3O’s potential to bring rig workers home safe and sound. In addition to testing in a teaching university’s bioengineering laboratory, several field tests were conducted onshore in Odessa, Texas, USA. Field-based analytical methods were critical because the controlled laboratory environment does not take on the extreme conditions of the industrial work environment.

RPS specifically sought out Wayne State University’s Bioengineering Center and Dr. King H. Yang (Director of the Bioengineering Center, College of Engineering) due to his extensive and renowned research work in the areas of trauma, back pain, orthopedic biomechanics, side impact and rear collisions, and the testing of various restraint and impact products. The mission of the university’s Bioengineering Center is “to promote fundamental discoveries, design and development of technologies and education in the understanding, mitigation, and prevention of impact associated injuries.” Dr. Yang received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Wayne State University in 1985. He has led the head-to-toe development process of numerous models of crash test dummies and postmortem human specimens. While his projects have investigated the mechanics of head injury, hip and spine fractures, intervertebral disc rupture and whiplash, he took on the task of hand-impact safety due to the absence of research in the field.

1.) Aim: This testing method aimed to investigate the benefits of including D3O in a protective glove for the oil and gas industry against other TPR gloves available on the market. The benefits were assessed through an impact test designed to evaluate the ability of the gloves to protect the user from blunt force trauma associated with working in the industrial environments.

2.) Proposed Procedure: Due to the scarcity of hand impact data, it was proposed to use three cadaver hands to test for static and dynamic force deflection properties when struck by a bar shaped mass. Incremental drop heights would then be performed up to fracture levels. This would be done on the phalanges and the back of the hand. With this data, the lab would develop a surrogate hand and applicable phalanges. The objective is for the surrogate to have similar force deflection response and measure internal finger and hand forces. With the surrogate, the lab can measure the internal and external responses of both TPR and D3O gloves and evaluate their protective capabilities.

3. Postmortem Test Setup: A total of 5 cadaver hand specimens have been tested to date. Initial observations were that both soft and hard damage was externally examined by reviewing the skin lesions and general deformation / palpitation to examine bone fracture and joints loosening. Second, a series of x-rays were taken of the dorsal and lateral views. And finally, an autopsy was conducted. Surprisingly, more finger damage was observed with the autopsy than originally seen on the x-ray.

Furthermore, the type of fractures that occur with industrial work came into consideration as the TPR and D3O performed differently with each of the strains.

Cadaver test criteria:

  • Drop tests were conducted from heights of 1 inch to 15 inches
  • Dropping mass was between 1kg and 5kg
  • Accelerometers were used to calculate force and displacement
  1. Surrogate Test Setup: Below is a photo of the surrogate test setup and rig. A total of four surrogate finger models have been tested to this point to ultimately assist in creating the surrogate model. The setup used a high-speed video camera to track the object receiving the impact to determine more accurate impact velocity. The goal was to locate the surrogate to hit at the same position to avoid the location sensitivity. The x-axis was changed from “height” to “energy” and is calculated from velocity for better comparison. The force was calculated from an accelerometer with 1k Hz, using Butterworth filtering.
  1.   Standardized PPE Market’s Test Methodology: While both the cadaver and surrogate testing methods are more realistic, the variability of the test setup requires the generation of a high number of data points, hence the need for more cadaver specimens in order to develop 95% confidence ratings. This variability in testing is directly due to the sporting goods and PPE markets having ever-changing impact energies depending on specific activities and equipment. Because of this, RPS and the D3O lab asked Wayne State University to replicate
  • Test was carried out by the Wayne State Engineering drop rig.
  • Each glove is secured to a circular flat anvil with a diameter of 130mm in such a way that the striker impacted across all 4 fingers.
  • The drop mass of 5kg with 12.5mm radius bar striker is raised to achieve a theoretical impact energy of 20 Joules equating to an impact velocity of 2.83m/s (16”).
  • The peak transmitted force was recorded by a load cell beneath the anvil.
  • The test was performed five times on each glove sample on the same location. The average peak transmitted force was then calculated.
  • A lower transmitted force indicates a material with better impact protection properties.



Although standard impact tests focus on peak force as the main measurement, force may not be the best measurement for testing hand impact protection. Energy is what the industry may need to transition to since “force” will happen regardless of what protection material is used. What happens to the hand when the force is transmitted determines the injury’s intensity. Regardless, the D3O impact material does not allow the force to go below “0,” preventing bone fractures up to the 11 inch drop height tested. To do this, D3O displaces the energy to be able to allow more time for the force to dissipate within the material and prevent the force from zeroing out, hence protecting against bone breakage.

TPR impact protection helps prevent hand injuries at 1 inch through 6 inch test heights. However, D3O impact technology prevents bone breakage in the 11 inch range, a statistic more applicable to industrial injuries. This is easily compared to car restraint systems. While TPR serves as a functional seatbelt for fender-bender accidents, D3O proves to be the airbag for the least expected head-on-crashes, hence helping accidents victims walk away with less severe injuries. While D3O does not prevent all injuries, it lessens the blow and “buys time” for the energy to dissipate. This is best illustrated by a professional baseball catcher’s skill. A true professional catcher reflects the catcher’s mitt back to absorb partial energy, hence relieving the initial sting of the ball into the glove and to allow the ball to “stick.”

In conclusion, as the war for talent rages on in the industrial sector, employee engagement is on the mind of every industrial executive. At its core, employee engagement is about attracting talent, fostering commitment, and ensuring retention of all people resources. Rig workers who understand their employers are bringing them the BEST in impact technology, similar to NFL players and U.S. Military Special Forces, have more confidence and trust for the company they work for. This confidence translates into overall productivity and engagement, therefore, saving valuable time and resources related to rehiring, retraining, and employees being unfit for the job. As you are called to select the men whose work separates them from the boys, consider giving them the best in impact glove technology, exclusively found in CrudeHands impact gloves.