Assessment of the Thor and Hybrid III Crash Dummies: Steering Wheel Rim Impacts to the Upper Abdomen 2004-01-0310
This investigation explored THOR's force-deflection response to upper abdomen/lower ribcage steering wheel rim impacts in comparison to the Hybrid III and cadaver test subjects. The stationary subjects were impacted by a ballasted surrogate wheel propelled at 4 m/s, a test condition designed to approximate the upper abdomen impacting a steering wheel rim in a frontal crash. Both the standard THOR and the Hybrid III crash dummies were substantially stiffer than the cadavers. Removing THOR's torso skin and foam from the upper abdomen and replacing the standard Hybrid III abdomen with a prototype gel-filled unit produced force-deflection results that were more similar to the cadavers. THOR offers advantages over the Hybrid III because of its ability to measure abdominal deflection. THOR, with modification, would be a useful instrument with which to assess the crashworthiness of steering assemblies and restraint systems in frontal crashes. However, development of an improved THOR abdomen should be preceded by an effort to better characterize human force-deflection response and to determine injury thresholds.