Thoracic injury to the near side occupant in a side collision is normally caused from contact with the struck vehicle's crushed side structure engaged by the striking vehicle's front end. Extensive research has already been done to investigate the effect that strengthening and padding struck vehicle side structure has on occupant safety. This study investigated the effect that altering the striking vehicle front end characteristics has on occupant safety in a side impact.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) moving deformable barrier (MDB) was used to conduct 12 crash tests. Three different types of honeycomb barrier faces were used, each representing a front end characteristic change. These were a reduction in stiffness, a lowering and tapering of the hood profile, and a lowering of the bumper. The alterations were believed to represent achievable production vehicle changes.
Each of the altered frontal designs were tested four times, striking baseline and padded Volkswagen Rabbits at both 60° and 90° configurations. In each case, the simulated striking and struck velocities were 35 and 17.5mph. respectively. The occupant responses and relative benefits from each of these concepts are shown and discussed.
Michael W. Monk, Donald T. Willke
International Technical Conference on Enhanced Safety of Vehicles