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Technical Paper

Optimizing Seat Belt and Airbag Designs for Rear Seat Occupant Protection in Frontal Crashes

Recent field data have shown that the occupant protection in vehicle rear seats failed to keep pace with advances in the front seats likely due to the lack of advanced safety technologies. The objective of this study was to optimize advanced restraint systems for protecting rear seat occupants with a range of body sizes under different frontal crash pulses. Three series of sled tests (baseline tests, advanced restraint trial tests, and final tests), MADYMO model validations against a subset of the sled tests, and design optimizations using the validated models were conducted to investigate rear seat occupant protection with 4 Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs) and 2 crash pulses.
Technical Paper

Development, Evaluation, and Sensitivity Analysis of Parametric Finite Element Whole-Body Human Models in Side Impacts

Occupant stature and body shape may have significant effects on injury risks in motor vehicle crashes, but the current finite element (FE) human body models (HBMs) only represent occupants with a few sizes and shapes. Our recent studies have demonstrated that, by using a mesh morphing method, parametric FE HBMs can be rapidly developed for representing a diverse population. However, the biofidelity of those models across a wide range of human attributes has not been established. Therefore, the objectives of this study are 1) to evaluate the accuracy of HBMs considering subject-specific geometry information, and 2) to apply the parametric HBMs in a sensitivity analysis for identifying the specific parameters affecting body responses in side impact conditions. Four side-impact tests with two male post-mortem human subjects (PMHSs) were selected to evaluate the accuracy of the geometry and impact responses of the morphed HBMs.
Technical Paper

A Pilot Study of Occupant Accommodation and Seat Belt Fit for Law Enforcement Officers

Law enforcement officers (LEO) make extensive use of vehicles to perform their jobs, often spending large portions of a shift behind the wheel. Few LEO vehicles are purpose-built; the vast majority are modified civilian vehicles. Data from the field indicate that LEO suffer from relatively high levels musculoskeletal injury that may be due in part to poor accommodation provided by their vehicles. LEO are also exposed to elevated crash injury risk, which may be exacerbated by a compromise in the performance of the occupant restraint systems due to body-borne equipment. A pilot study was conducted to demonstrate the application of three-dimensional anthropometric scanning and measurement technology to address critical concerns related to vehicle design. Detailed posture and belt fit data were gathered from five law enforcement officers as they sat in the patrol vehicles that they regularly used and in a mockup of a mid-sized vehicle.
Technical Paper

Integration of Active and Passive Safety Technologies - A Method to Study and Estimate Field Capability

The objective of this study is to develop a method that uses a combination of field data analysis, naturalistic driving data analysis, and computational simulations to explore the potential injury reduction capabilities of integrating passive and active safety systems in frontal impact conditions. For the purposes of this study, the active safety system is actually a driver assist (DA) feature that has the potential to reduce delta-V prior to a crash, in frontal or other crash scenarios. A field data analysis was first conducted to estimate the delta-V distribution change based on an assumption of 20% crash avoidance resulting from a pre-crash braking DA feature. Analysis of changes in driver head location during 470 hard braking events in a naturalistic driving study found that drivers’ head positions were mostly in the center position before the braking onset, while the percentage of time drivers leaning forward or backward increased significantly after the braking onset.
Technical Paper

Development and Validation of an Older Occupant Finite Element Model of a Mid-Sized Male for Investigation of Age-related Injury Risk

The aging population is a growing concern as the increased fragility and frailty of the elderly results in an elevated incidence of injury as well as an increased risk of mortality and morbidity. To assess elderly injury risk, age-specific computational models can be developed to directly calculate biomechanical metrics for injury. The first objective was to develop an older occupant Global Human Body Models Consortium (GHBMC) average male model (M50) representative of a 65 year old (YO) and to perform regional validation tests to investigate predicted fractures and injury severity with age. Development of the GHBMC M50 65 YO model involved implementing geometric, cortical thickness, and material property changes with age. Regional validation tests included a chest impact, a lateral impact, a shoulder impact, a thoracoabdominal impact, an abdominal bar impact, a pelvic impact, and a lateral sled test.
Technical Paper

Uncertainties in Emissions Measurements in a Partial Flow Sampling System

This paper investigates experimental uncertainties associated with gaseous and particulate emissions measurements in a partial flow emissions sampling system developed and built at the Larson Transportation Institute of the Pennsylvania State University. A small fraction of the tail pipe exhaust is diluted with dilution air and passed through a cyclone to eliminate particles bigger than 2.5 microns. The diluted exhaust is then passed through a 47 mm Teflon filter for gravimetric measurement of Particulate Matter (PM). Mass flow controllers operating at 5Hz are used to control the flow rates of dilution air, diluted exhaust, and proportional flow of diluted exhaust into a Tedlar bag. An ultrasonic flow meter is used to measure flow rate of tail pipe exhaust. At the end of a test, the concentration of gaseous emissions in the bag, namely CO2, CO, HC, and NOx are measured using a bag emissions analyzer.
Technical Paper

Response and Tolerance of Female and/or Elderly PMHS to Lateral Impact

Eight whole fresh-frozen cadavers (6 female, 2 male) that were elderly and/or female were laterally impacted using UMTRI's dual-sled side-impact test facility. Cadavers were not excluded on the basis of old age or bone diseases that affect tolerance. A thinly padded, multi-segment impactor was used that independently measured force histories applied to the shoulder, thorax, abdomen, greater trochanter, iliac wing, and femur of each PMHS. Impactor plates were adjusted vertically and laterally toward the subject so that contact with body regions occurred simultaneously and so that each segment contacted the same region on every subject. This configuration minimized the effects of body shape on load sharing between regions. Prior to all tests, cadavers were CT scanned to check for pre-existing skeletal injuries. Cadavers were excluded if they had pre-existing rib fractures or had undergone CPR.
Technical Paper

PMHS Impact Response in 3 m/s and 8 m/s Nearside Impacts with Abdomen Offset

Lateral impact tests were performed using seven male post-mortem human subjects (PMHS) to characterize the force-deflection response of contacted body regions, including the lower abdomen. All tests were performed using a dual-sled, side-impact test facility. A segmented impactor was mounted on a sled that was pneumatically accelerated into a second, initially stationary sled on which a subject was seated facing perpendicular to the direction of impact. Positions of impactor segments were adjusted for each subject so that forces applied to different anatomic regions, including thorax, abdomen, greater trochanter, iliac wing, and thigh, could be independently measured on each PMHS. The impactor contact surfaces were located in the same vertical plane, except that the abdomen plate was offset 5.1 cm towards the subject.
Technical Paper

Effects of Driver Characteristics on Seat Belt Fit

A laboratory study of posture and belt fit was conducted with 46 men and 51 women, 61% of whom were age 60 years or older and 32% age 70 years or older. In addition, 28% of the 97 participants were obese, defined as body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2. A mockup of a passenger vehicle driver's station was created and five belt anchorage configurations were produced by moving the buckle, outboard-upper (D-ring), and outboard-lower anchorages. An investigator recorded the three-dimensional locations of landmarks on the belt and the participant's body using a coordinate measurement machine. The location of the belt with respect to the underlying skeletal structures was analyzed, along with the length of belt webbing. Using linear regression models, an increase in age from 20 to 80 years resulted in the lap belt positioned 18 mm further forward relative to the pelvis, 26 mm greater lap belt webbing length, and 19 mm greater shoulder belt length.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Considerations for Assessing Interactions of Children and Small Occupants with Inflatable Seat Belts

NHTSA estimates that more than half of the lives saved (168,524) in car crashes between 1960 and 2002 were due to the use of seat belts. Nevertheless, while seat belts are vital to occupant crash protection, safety researchers continue efforts to further enhance the capability of seat belts in reducing injury and fatality risk in automotive crashes. Examples of seat belt design concepts that have been investigated by researchers include inflatable, 4-point, and reverse geometry seat belts. In 2011, Ford Motor Company introduced the first rear seat inflatable seat belts into production vehicles. A series of tests with child and small female-sized Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATD) and small, elderly female Post Mortem Human Subjects (PMHS) was performed to evaluate interactions of prototype inflatable seat belts with the chest, upper torso, head and neck of children and small occupants, from infants to young adolescents.
Technical Paper

Impact of Supplemental Natural Gas on Engine Efficiency, Performance, and Emissions

In this study, the performance and emissions of a 4 cylinder 2.5L light-duty diesel engine with methane fumigation in the intake air manifold is studied to simulate a dual fuel conversion kit. Because the engine control unit is optimized to work with only the diesel injection into the cylinder, the addition of methane to the intake disrupts this optimization. The energy from the diesel fuel is replaced with that from the methane by holding the engine load and speed constant as methane is added to the intake air. The pilot injection is fixed and the main injection is varied in increments over 12 crank angle degrees at these conditions to determine the timing that reduces each of the emissions while maintaining combustion performance as measured by the brake thermal efficiency. It is shown that with higher substitution the unburned hydrocarbon (UHC) emissions can increase by up to twenty times. The NOx emissions decrease for all engine conditions, up to 53%.
Journal Article

Multi-Physics Numerical Analysis of PEMFC for Automobile Application

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) is regarded as a potential alternative clean energy source for automobile applications. Key challenges to the acceptance of PEMFC for automobiles are the cost reduction, improvement in power density for its compactness, and cold-start capability. High current density operation is a promising solution for them. However, high current density operation under normal and sub-zero temperature requires more oxygen flux for the electrochemical reaction in the catalyst layer, and it causes more heat and water flux, resulting in the significant voltage losses. So, the theoretical investigation is very helpful for the fundamental understanding of complex transport phenomena in high current density operation under normal and sub-zero temperature. In this study, the numerical model was established to elucidate the impacts of mass transport phenomena on the cell performance through the numerical validation with experimental and visualization results.
Journal Article

Design, Development and Validation of the 2013 Penn State University E85 Series Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle

The Pennsylvania State University Advanced Vehicle Team (PSU AVT) is one of the fifteen (15) participating teams at the EcoCAR 2 “Plugging In to the Future” challenge. The team has worked in the design, development and validation of converting a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, into an advanced technology hybrid vehicle. The PSU AVT has determined that a Plug-In Series Electric Hybrid architecture best meets the design goals of the EcoCAR 2 competition. The vehicle will utilize a front-wheel drivetrain powered by a Magna E-drive; an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) based on a naturally aspirated Weber MPE 750 engine, converted for use with E85, coupled to a UQM PowerPhase 75 generator; an Energy Storage System (ESS) based on six A123, 15s3p battery modules; and a Mototron ECM-5554-112-0904 controller as the Master Vehicle Controller (MVC).
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Assessment of a Rear-Seat Inflatable Seatbelt in Frontal Impacts

This study evaluated the biomechanical performance of a rear-seat inflatable seatbelt system and compared it to that of a 3-point seatbelt system, which has a long history of good real-world performance. Frontal-impact sled tests were conducted with Hybrid III anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) and with post mortem human subjects (PMHS) using both restraint systems and a generic rear-seat configuration. Results from these tests demonstrated: a) reduction in forward head excursion with the inflatable seatbelt system when compared to that of a 3-point seatbelt and; b) a reduction in ATD and PMHS peak chest deflections and the number of PMHS rib fractures with the inflatable seatbelt system and c) a reduction in PMHS cervical-spine injuries, due to the interaction of the chin with the inflated shoulder belt. These results suggest that an inflatable seatbelt system will offer additional benefits to some occupants in the rear seats.
Technical Paper

Factors Associated With Abdominal Injury in Frontal, Farside, and Nearside Crashes

The NASS-CDS (1998-2008) and CIREN datasets were analyzed to identify factors contributing to abdominal injury in crash environments where belt use and airbag deployment are common. In frontal impacts, the percentage of occupants sustaining abdominal injury is three times higher for unbelted compared to belted front-row adult occupants (p≺0.0001) at both AIS2+ and AIS3+ injury levels. Airbag deployment does not substantially affect the percentage of occupants who sustain abdominal injuries in frontal impacts (p=0.6171), while belt use reduces the percentage of occupants sustaining abdominal injury in both nearside and farside crashes (p≺0.0001). Right-front passengers in right-side impacts have the highest risk (1.91%) of AIS 3+ abdominal injury (p=0.03). The percentage of occupants with AIS 3+ abdominal injuries does not vary with age for frontal, nearside, or farside impacts.
Technical Paper

A Multi-Modality Image Data Collection Protocol for Full Body Finite Element Model Development

This study outlines a protocol for image data collection acquired from human volunteers. The data set will serve as the foundation of a consolidated effort to develop the next generation full-body Finite Element Analysis (FEA) models for injury prediction and prevention. The geometry of these models will be based off the anatomy of four individuals meeting extensive prescreening requirements and representing the 5th and 50th percentile female, and the 50th and 95th percentile male. Target values for anthropometry are determined by literature sources. Because of the relative strengths of various modalities commonly in use today in the clinical and engineering worlds, a multi-modality approach is outlined. This approach involves the use of Computed Tomography (CT), upright and closed-bore Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and external anthropometric measurements.
Journal Article

Using Designing for Human Variability to optimize Aircraft eat Layout

Integrating the seemingly divergent objectives of aircraft seat configuration is a difficult task. Aircraft manufacturers look to design seats to maximize customer satisfaction and in-flight safety, but these objectives can conflict with the profit motive of airline companies. In order to boost revenue by increasing the number of passengers per aircraft, airline companies may increase seat height and decrease seat pitch. This results in disaccommodation of a greater percentage of the passenger population and is a reason for rising customer dissatisfaction. This paper describes an effort to bridge this gap by incorporating digital human models, layout optimization, and a profit-maximizing constraint into the aircraft seat design problem. A simplified aircraft seat design experiment is conceptualized and its results are extrapolated to an airline passenger population.
Journal Article

Modeling of Li-ion Battery Performance in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Considerable improvements can be obtained in battery performance for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) by employing an electrochemistry-transport model based on a multi-physics modeling framework and ultrafast numerical algorithms. One important advantage of this approach over the lumped equivalent circuit (or look-up table) approach is the ability of the former to adapt to changes in design and control. In this work, we present mathematical and numerical details of our approach, and demonstrate the robustness of this battery model in simulation of short-pulse charge/discharge characteristic of HEV driving cycles under room and low temperatures.
Technical Paper

Interactions of Out-of-Position Small-Female Surrogates with a Depowered Driver Airbag

The objectives of this study were to examine the response, repeatability, and injury predictive ability of the Hybrid III small-female dummy to static out-of-position (OOP) deployments using a depowered driver-side airbag. Five dummy tests were conducted in two OOP configurations by two different laboratories. The OOP configurations were nose-on-rim (NOR) and chest-on-bag (COB). Four cadaver tests were conducted using unembalmed small-female cadavers and the same airbags used in the dummy tests under similar OOP conditions. One cadaver test was designed to increase airbag loading of the face and neck (a forehead-on-rim, or FOR test). Comparison between the dummy tests of Lab 1 and of Lab 2 indicated the test conditions and results were repeatable. In the cadaver tests no skull fractures or neck injuries occurred. However, all four cadavers had multiple rib fractures.
Technical Paper

Development of a Finite Element Model to Study the Effects of Muscle Forces on Knee-Thigh-Hip Injuries in Frontal Crashes

A finite element (FE) model with knee-thigh-hip (KTH) and lower-extremity muscles has been developed to study the potential effects of muscle tension on KTH injuries due to knee bolster loadings in frontal crashes. This model was created by remeshing the MADYMO human lower-extremity FE model to account for regional differences in cortical bone thickness, trabecular bone, cortical bone with directionally dependent mechanical properties and Tsai-Wu failure criteria, and articular cartilage. The model includes 35 Hill-type muscles in each lower extremity with masses based on muscle volume. The skeletal response of the model was validated by simulating biomechanical tests without muscle tension, including cadaver skeletal segment impact tests documented in the literature as well as recent tests of seated whole cadavers that were impacted using knee-loading conditions similar to those produced in FMVSS 208 testing.