1997-02-24

Sled Testing Procedure for Side Impact Airbag Development 970570

Side impact crashworthiness development presents a unique challenge to auto safety engineers. One fundamental issue is how to evaluate side impact air bags with a component test that realistically simulates the kinematics of a full scale side impact crash test. This paper presents a test methodology that can be used to evaluate side impact air bags utilizing an accelerator-type sled typically used for frontal impact simulation. The approach uses a “two carriage” system, whereas the struck door and vehicle acceleration profiles are simulated. These acceleration responses are matched through a series of sled variables including thrust column setting, metering pin shape and an on-board pneumatic cylinder which controls the relative response between the two carriages. The mechanical operating principles behind this testing methodology, the approach used to conduct baseline matching tests, data showing the level of correlation achieved with this testing technique, and side impact air bag test results is presented. Correlation of this type of testing is based upon both the vehicle response and the acceleration responses of a Side Impact Dummy. Readers of this paper will gain a greater understanding of how accelerator-type sleds can be used to realistically simulate dynamic side impact conditions.

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