Browse Publications Technical Papers 2007-22-0007

Influence of Impact Speed on Head and Brain Injury Outcome in Vulnerable Road User Impacts to the Car Hood 2007-22-0007

EuroNCAP and regulations in Europe and Japan evaluate the pedestrian protection performance of cars. The test methods are similar and they all have requirements for the passive protection of the hood area at a pedestrian to car impact speed of 40 km/h. In Europe, a proposal for a second phase of the regulation mandates a brake-assist system along with passive requirements. The system assists the driver in optimizing the braking performance during panic braking, resulting in activation only when the driver brakes sufficiently. In a European study this was estimated to occur in about 50% of pedestrian accidents. A future system for brake assistance will likely include automatic braking, in response to a pre-crash sensor, to avoid or mitigate injuries of vulnerable road users. An important question is whether these systems will provide sufficient protection, or if a parallel, passive pedestrian protection system will be necessary.
This study investigated the influence of impact speed on head and brain injury risk, in impacts to the car hood. One car model was chosen and a rigid adjustable plate was mounted under the hood. Free-flying headform impacts were carried out at 20 and 30 km/h head impact velocities at different under-hood distances, 20 to 100 mm; and were compared to earlier tests at 40 km/h. The EEVC WG17 adult pedestrian headform was used for non-rotating tests and a Hybrid III adult 50th percentile head was used for rotational tests where linear and rotational acceleration was measured. Data from the rotational tests was used as input to a validated finite element model of the human head, the Wayne State University Head Injury Model (WSUHIM). The model was utilized to assess brain injury risk and potential injury mechanism in a pedestrian-hood impact.
Although this study showed that it was not necessarily true that a lower HIC value reduced the risk for brain injury, it appeared, for the tested car model, under-hood distances of 60 mm in 20 km/h and 80 mm in 30 km/h reduced head injury values for both skull fractures and brain injuries. An earlier study showed that the corresponding value for a test speed of 40 km/h is 100 mm. A 10 km/h reduction in head impact velocity, as in automatic braking, allowed 20 mm less under-hood clearance with maintained head protection of the vulnerable road user.


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