Browse Publications Technical Papers 1999-13-0013

Small Female Head and Neck Interaction With a Deploying Side Air Bag 1999-13-0013

This paper presents dummy and cadaver experiments designed to investigate the injury potential of an out-of-position small female head and neck from a deploying side air bag. Three seat mounted, thoracic type, side air bags were used that varied in inflator aggressivity. The ATB/CVS multi body program was used to identify the worst case loading position for the small female head and neck. Once the initial position was identified, a total of three Hybrid III 5th percentile dummy and three small female cadaver tests (51 ± 9 years, 64 ± 8 kg, 159 ± 10 cm) were performed. Instrumentation for the dummy included upper and lower neck load cells, while both the dummy and the cadavers had accelerometers and angular rate sensors fixed to the head and T1 vertebrae in order to provide head and neck kinematic data. Head center of gravity accelerations for the dummy ranged from 71 g's to 154 g's, and were greater than cadaver values, which ranged from 68 g's to 103 g's. Peak neck tension as measured at the upper load cell of the dummy increased with inflator aggressivity from 992 N to 1670 N. A conservative modification of the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Nij proposed neck injury criteria, which combines neck tension and bending, was used. All values were well below the 1.0 injury threshold for the dummy and suggested a very low possibility of neck injury. The results of the cadaver tests agreed with this prediction in that no injuries were observed. The dummy neck tension and dummy and cadaver head accelerations correlated very well with air bag inflator characteristics. These tests suggest that the side air bag may be designed to minimize the risk of head and neck injury to the out of position small female.
Recently, automobile manufacturers have begun implementing side air bags as a safety feature to mitigate injuries resulting from side impact collisions. Unlike the case for the driver and passenger side air bag, the injury potential to an out-of-position occupant in side airbag loading has not been presented in the literature. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the response of a Hybrid III 5th percentile female dummy and small female cadaver subject to loading by a deploying side air bag.


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