Browse Publications Technical Papers 2021-01-5008

Effect of Simulated Muscle Activation Level on Driver Neck Response in Frontal Motor Vehicle Crashes 2021-01-5008

Future vehicle design for integrated safety requires an accurate assessment of occupants’ realistic behavior. Active muscle, one of the key reflexive actions engaged by vehicle occupants, is a paucity of research data in the conventional safety assessment program due to muscle absence in mechanical crash dummies. This study seeks to explore how muscle activation level affects the neck kinematics and injury risks in frontal collisions with various impact severities via numerical analysis. A validated Finite Element (FE) vehicle model was employed to generate the crash pulse. A MADYMO baseline model interior space was imported from the FE model. A validated vehicle- driver model, including a driver-side interior compartment and a multi-body active human model, was numerically constructed under the MADYMO environment. A full-factorial matrix, including 102 simulations, was designed. Two influencing parameters, including the whole-body muscle activation level (0-1 with a gradient of 0.2) and the crash velocity (30-70 km/h with a gradient of 2.5 km/h), were selected. The driver neck kinematics, kinetics, and injury risks from various activation levels and collision speed were compared and analyzed. An exponential fitting model was performed to assess factors effect on the neck injury. The results show that the activation of muscles could decrease the head pitch angle. The active muscle response contributed to decreased neck injury risk in the low severity frontal collisions while potentially increasing the neck injury risk in the high severity collisions. With the increase of crash speed, the occurrence of the peak value of the neck injury criterion (Nij) would be delayed. The effect of muscle activation level on neck injury was greater in high-speed collisions (ΔΝij = 29.5%, ΔP(AIS 3+) = 28.4 % for 70 km/h) than in low-speed collisions (ΔΝij = − 22.0%, ΔP(AIS 3+) = − 5.6 % for 30 km/h). This study demonstrates the importance of accounting for muscle activation in assessing driver impact response. Therefore, muscle activation should be considered for vehicle safety system design.


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