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Technical Paper

The Measured Rolling Resistance of Vehicles for Accident Reconstruction

Knowledge about vehicle rolling resistance is required to calculate speed loss of accident vehicles during portions of their pre-impact and post-impact trajectory when they are not braking or sliding directly sideways. The accuracy of assumed rolling resistance values is most important in accidents with long post-impact roll out distances. Very little hard data are currently available1 and the accident reconstructionist must usually make estimates of drivetrain losses and normal and damaged tire rolling resistance to determine overall vehicle rolling resistance. In the first part of this study, the rolling resistances of various vehicles with different drive configurations are determined, based on accurate measurements made with a 5th wheel. In the second part, sensitivity analyses are done with PC-Crash2, a computer simulation program, to determine what effect the error in assumed rolling resistance has on speed calculations for various types of post-impact trajectories.
Technical Paper

Measuring and Modeling Suspensions of Passenger Vehicles

Numerical parameters describing suspension stiffness and damping are required for 3D simulation of vehicle trajectories, but may not be available. This paper outlines a simple, portable method of measuring these properties with a coefficient of variation of 5% on stiffness. 24 of 26 vehicles tested were significantly stiffer in roll than pitch, complicating analyses with models that don't include anti-roll. Suspension parameters did not correlate with static wheel load distribution, and damping coefficient did not correlate with natural frequency. Computer simulations of the speed required to initiate rollover in an S-curve were highly sensitive to the suspension parameters used. When pre-impact tire marks and rollover distance were considered, the simulations became almost insensitive to suspension parameters.
Technical Paper

Yaw Testing of an Instrumented Vehicle with and without Braking

Two methods for calculating speed from curved tire marks were investigated. The commonly used critical speed formula and a computer simulation program were evaluated based on their ability to reproduce the results of full-scale yaw tests. The effects of vehicle braking and friction coefficient were studied. Twenty-two yaw tests were conducted at speeds between 70 and 120 km/h. For half of the tests, about 30% braking was applied. Using the measured sliding coefficient of friction, both the critical speed formula and the computer simulations under-predicted the actual speed of the vehicle. Using the measured peak coefficient of friction, both methods over-estimated the actual speed. There was less variance in the computer simulation results. Braking tended to increase the speeds calculated by the critical speed formula.
Technical Paper

A Comparison of Moment of Inertia Estimation Techniques for Vehicle Dynamics Simulation

The moments of inertia, in yaw, pitch, and roll, as well as the center of gravity height are necessary to successfully model the 3D dynamic behavior of vehicles before, during and after collision. A number of vehicle parameter estimation techniques have been developed and are currently in use in North America and Europe. Many parameters have been measured by NHTSA and others. The estimation techniques are compared to the available measured values, and recommendations are made for best estimating the parameters when measured values are not available. The sensitivity of 3D vehicle collision dynamics and trajectory simulation to variance in the moment of inertia is demonstrated.