In today's traffic accidents vehicle side impacts are second to frontal impacts as far as accident frequency is concerned, while being in the lead with regard for the risk to be injured severely. Various experiments and analytical investigations have already been performed on this subject. The merely experimental approach with its time-consuming and costly iterations can be efficiently assisted by corresponding simulation programs which are readily accepted if the simulated results are easily applicable in vehicle component design.
When analysing both the mathematical and experimental side structure optimizations it is found that there is a considerable potential for improvement on the one hand but that it is difficult to transfer the calculated results into body design on the other. This paper presents a method allowing to apply the results of various side impact simulations to the layout of vehicle side structures.