Browse Publications Technical Papers 2008-22-0015
2008-11-03

Occupant Kinematics and Estimated Effectiveness of Side Airbags in Pole Side Impacts Using a Human FE Model with Internal Organs 2008-22-0015

When a car collides against a pole-like obstacle, the deformation pattern of the vehicle body-side tends to extend to its upper region. A possible consequence is an increase of loading to the occupant thorax. Many studies have been conducted to understand human thoracic responses to lateral loading, and injury criteria have been developed based on the results. However, injury mechanisms, especially those of internal organs, are not well understood. A human body FE model was used in this study to simulate occupant kinematics in a pole side impact. Internal organ parts were introduced into the torso model, including their geometric features, material properties and connections with other tissues. The mechanical responses of the model were validated against PMHS data in the literature. Although injury criterion for each organ has not been established, pressure level and its changes can be estimated from the organ models. Finite element simulations were conducted assuming a case where a passenger vehicle collides against a pole at 29km/h. Occupant kinematics, force-deformation responses and pressure levels were compared between cases with and without side airbag deployment. The results indicated that strain to the ribs and pressure to the organs was smaller with side airbag deployment. The side airbag widened the contact area at the torso, helping to distribute the force to the shoulder, arm and chest. Such distributed force helped generate relatively smaller deformation in the ribs. Furthermore, the side airbag deployment helped restrict the spine displacement. The smaller displacement contributed to lowering the magnitude of contact force between the torso and the door. The study also examined the correlations between the pressure levels in the internal organs, rib deflection, and V*C of chest. The study found that the V*C(t) peak appeared to be synchronized with the organ pressure peak, suggesting that the pressure level of the internal organs could be one possible indicator to estimate their injury risk.

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