Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) < back

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) may be the most common helmet outer shell material in the world—thanks to its affordability, ease of manufacturing, its strength and reliability. As a thermoplastic, ABS can be heated to 221 degrees Fahrenheit (105 °C) melted and easily injection molded or 3D printed into finished shapes. This is why ABS debuted in helmet shells during the 1960s and is still popular with helmet manufacturers today.

Once cooled, there is usually little required in the way of hand finishing the ABS product, which reduces labor costs. That said, ABS is also easily machined, sanded, glued and painted, which makes it a popular material for both prototype and finished products.

From a performance standpoint, ABS is attractive in that it has high impact resistance, functions well in cold weather and is, simply put, quite tough.

For all these reasons (and more) ABS products are omnipresent in our daily lives—the light switch cover on the wall, the keys on your computer’s keyboard, the interior in your car—ABS is everywhere, including, of course, in helmet shells.

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