A Centrifuge Concept for Measuring the Rollover Threshold of Light-Duty Vehicles 2002-01-1603
Various means for measuring a vehicle's roll stability performance are considered in terms of the pertinence of their test conditions to the rollover crash record, the practicality and quality of the measurement, and their ability to span the performance range of the population of light-duty vehicles. Classical static measures as well as the so-called “maneuver-type” tests that have been under extensive study by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation are specifically addressed. In light of limitations facing the existing methods, the concept of a centrifuge test device is introduced and discussed. The apparatus is comprised of a relatively large machine that mounts a full-sized vehicle tangent to the rotation of a radial arm which revolves at a controlled angular rate. The minimum steady speed of rotation that induces a rollover response in the mounted vehicle corresponds to the static rollover threshold, in units of lateral (or centripetal) acceleration. One version of such a centrifuge machine is presented in the paper and several of its key attributes are discussed. Certain adaptations of this concept to the measurement of a “dynamic rollover threshold” are also examined by means of a computer simulation of centrifuge-based experiments.