It is well known that occupant protection in side impacts involves technical complexities, and the development of effective countermeasures has become more urgent due to recent US Government rulemaking. The additional difficulties of experimental measurement and observation have caused an increased emphasis to be placed on simulation models for side impacts.
There are several complex three-dimensional occupant models which provide representations of occupant kinetics, but simulations of the occupant's interaction with the vehicle are not well developed. In contrast, the simpler lumped-mass models are good at simulating vehicle structural dynamics, including door intrusion, but may not model the occupant well (head movements, for example).
The present simulation is a lumped-mass model that seeks a middle ground. It is easy to run, it has easily-specified inputs capable of representing arbitrary occupant and vehicle characteristics, it incorporates recent research results for thoracic response, it is validated against both thoracic dummy impactor tests and vehicle crash tests, it includes the structural response of both upper and lower door and sill structures, and it utilizes an improved (compared to current lumped-mass models) treatment of head and neck motion.