Application of Load Cell Barrier Data to Assess Vehicle Crash Performance and Compatibility 1999-01-0720
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) routinely measures the force exerted on the barrier in crash tests. Thirty-six load cells on the face of the rigid barrier measure the force. This study examines the load cell barrier data collected during recent years of NCAP testing to determine how it can be used to assess vehicle structural crash characteristics and vehicle compatibility in car to car crashes. To illustrate the value of the data, the load cell measurements for an SUV are compared with a small car.
Several aggressiveness metrics are proposed for different crash modes. The proposed metrics for frontal crash modes are the force at 250 mm of crush, the linear stiffness at various levels of crush, and the height of the center of force at 250 mm of crush.
For front-to-side vehicle crashes, some additional metrics are proposed. The force distribution when the loading is sufficient to cause intrusion of the side door is proposed as the basis for a metric. A high percentage of force on the lowest rows is indicative of sill loading, which should be favorable. A high percentage of force on the highest rows of load cells is indicative of intrusion in the region of the occupant’s thorax, which should be unfavorable. The presence of loading in the upper row of load cells at any time during the crash is indicative of a high hood, which could be the source of head impacts.