1982-02-01

Biomechanical Evaluation of Steering Wheel Design 820478

In a crash, impact against the steering assembly can be a major cause of serious and fatal injury to drivers. But the interrelationship between injury protection and factors of surface area, configuration, padding, relative position of the spokes, and number and stiffness of spokes and rim is not clear. This paper reports a series of high-G sled tests conducted with anesthetized animal subjects in 30 mph impacts at 30 G peaks. A total of eight tests were conducted, five utilizing pig subjects, one a female chimpanzee, one an anthropomorphic dummy, and one test with no subject. Instrumentation included closed circuit TV, a tri-axial load cell mounted between the steering wheel and column, seat belt load measurement, six Photo-Sonics 1000 fps motion picture cameras, and poloroid photography. Medical monitoring pre, during and post-impact was followed by gross and microscopic tissue examination. Observations from these tests are believed to be significant to both engineering of steering wheel design and medical interpretation of causation of driver injuries.

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