1983-10-17

The Role of Steering Wheel Structure in the Performance of Energy Absorbing Steering Systems 831607

This study identifies important parameters that influence the basic response mechanics of a compressible column steering assembly. Energy can be absorbed either by column compression and/or steering wheel deformation, depending on relative deformation force. Neither column compressive force nor steering wheel deformation force are uniquely defined but depend on several parameters.
Steering wheel deformation force is dependent on occupant load distribution. The force necessary to compress the column differs from the column EA element compressive force due to inertial and geometric considerations. For our test conditions and the components we studied, off axis impact resulted in initial steering wheel deformation with the wheel and column sharing energy absorption. Axial impact resulted in almost negligible wheel deformation and the column was the energy absorbing component.

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