Browse Publications Technical Papers 2011-26-0101
2011-01-19

Occupant Knee Impact Zone Definition Using KBE Tools to Determine Vehicle Instrument Panel Profile 2011-26-0101

Automobile safety is becoming one of the important criteria for customer vehicle selection. Vehicle manufacturers have a challenging task for introducing variety of products in market in short time domain. Engineering a product for safety parameters involves many critical attributes which could affect vehicle design and styling parameters. In this context, instrument panel (hereafter referred as IP) profile, design and package are one of the aspects which affect lower extremity injuries of an occupant in a frontal crash.
The occupants due to inertial properties, and shock levels move inside the passenger compartment thereby resulting into knees and lower legs contacting the IP. It is found in many cases that knee-femur injuries are higher due to improper contact area and package of hard components behind IP. This paper explains a methodology of establishing the knee impact zone using a Knowledge Based Engineering (KBE) application.
The assessment of IP profile could be done through the developed logic thereby driving suitable profile enhancements and establishing constraints for component (switches, lock assemblies and control knobs) package behind IP. In styling phase of vehicle development, when inputs are not available about occupant package layout, this tool could be helpful in studying the sensitivity of IP profile with respect to occupant seating positions. The developed method replicates occupant kinematics in frontal crash tests. It also considers different occupant types and knee contact variations due to other vehicle interior design parameters. The occupant injury risk is also highlighted in case expected design clearance and package is not achieved. This method could help to reduce number of CAE and test based design iterations required to optimize IP profile and package. The methodology has been successfully validated across different vehicle development programs.

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