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Technical Paper

Optimizing Occupant Restraint Systems for Tactical Vehicles in Frontal Crashes

The objective of this study was to optimize the occupant restraint systems for a light tactical vehicle in frontal crashes. A combination of sled testing and computational modeling were performed to find the optimal seatbelt and airbag designs for protecting occupants represented by three size of ATDs and two military gear configurations. This study started with 20 sled frontal crash tests to setup the baseline performance of existing seatbelts, which have been presented previously; followed by parametric computational simulations to find the best combinations of seatbelt and airbag designs for different sizes of ATDs and military gear configurations involving both driver and passengers. Then 12 sled tests were conducted with the simulation-recommended restraint designs. The test results were further used to validate the models. Another series of computational simulations and 4 sled tests were performed to fine-tune the optimal restraint design solutions.
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 of A New Dynamic Rollover Test Methodology for Heavy Vehicles

Among all the vehicle rollover test procedures, the SAE J2114 dolly rollover test is the most widely used. However, it requires the test vehicle to be seated on a dolly with a 23° initial angle, which makes it difficult to test a vehicle over 5,000 kg without a dolly design change, and repeatability is often a concern. In the current study, we developed and implemented a new dynamic rollover test methodology that can be used for evaluating crashworthiness and occupant protection without requiring an initial vehicle angle. To do that, a custom cart was designed to carry the test vehicle laterally down a track. The cart incorporates two ramps under the testing vehicle’s trailing-side tires. In a test, the cart with the vehicle travels at the desired test speed and is stopped by a track-mounted curb.
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.
Journal Article

Uncertainty Assessment in Restraint System Optimization for Occupants of Tactical Vehicles

We have recently obtained experimental data and used them to develop computational models to quantify occupant impact responses and injury risks for military vehicles during frontal crashes. The number of experimental tests and model runs are however, relatively small due to their high cost. While this is true across the auto industry, it is particularly critical for the Army and other government agencies operating under tight budget constraints. In this study we investigate through statistical simulations how the injury risk varies if a large number of experimental tests were conducted. We show that the injury risk distribution is skewed to the right implying that, although most physical tests result in a small injury risk, there are occasional physical tests for which the injury risk is extremely large. We compute the probabilities of such events and use them to identify optimum design conditions to minimize such probabilities.
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

Effects of Crash Pulse, Impact Angle, Occupant Size, Front Seat Location, and Restraint System on Rear Seat Occupant Protection

In this study, two sled series were conducted with a sled buck representing a compact vehicle. The first series of tests focused on the effects of crash pulse, impact angle, occupant size, and front seat location on rear seat occupant restraint with a generic rear-seat belt system without pre-tensioner or load limiter. The second series of tests focused on investigating the benefit of using advanced features for rear-seat occupant restraint in the most severe crash condition in the first sled series. The first series of tests include 16 test conditions with two impact angles (0° and 15°), two sled pulse (soft and severe), and four ATD sizes (HIII 6YO, HIII 5th female, HIII 95th male, and THOR-NT) with two ATDs in each test. The driver seat was located at the mid position, while the front passenger seat was positioned such that a constant distance between the ATD knee and the front seat is achieved.
Technical Paper

Computational Investigation of the Effects of Driver and Vehicle Interior Factors on the Risk of Knee-Thigh-Hip Injuries in Frontal Crashes

The effects of seatbelt use, muscle tension, lower-extremity posture, driver fore-aft seat position, seat height, and seat angle on the likelihood of knee, thigh, and hip (KTH) injuries during knee-to-knee-bolster impacts in frontal crashes were studied using a finite element (FE) human model. A midsize male whole-body FE model, with a previously validated knee-impact response, was further validated in this study against whole-body responses from two sets of cadaver sled tests. This human model was integrated with vehicle instrument panel, seat, and restraint-system models. An FMVSS 208 crash pulse of a passenger car was used to evaluate the effects of the aforementioned factors on the risk of KTH injuries. Simulation results indicated that seatbelts significantly reduced peak forces generated at the knee, in the thigh, and at the hip, and thereby reduced the risk of KTH injuries.
Journal Article

Finite Element Investigation of Seatbelt Systems for Improving Occupant Protection during Rollover Crashes

The seatbelt system, originally designed for protecting occupants in frontal crashes, has been reported to be inadequate for preventing occupant head-to-roof contact during rollover crashes. To improve the effectiveness of seatbelt systems in rollovers, in this study, we reviewed previous literature and proposed vertical head excursion corridors during static inversion and dynamic rolling tests for human and Hybrid III dummy. Finite element models of a human and a dummy were integrated with restraint system models and validated against the proposed test corridors. Simulations were then conducted to investigate the effects of varying design factors for a three-point seatbelt on vertical head excursions of the occupant during rollovers. It was found that there were two contributing parts of vertical head excursions during dynamic rolling conditions.
Journal Article

A Method for Determining the Vehicle-to-Ground Contact Load during Laboratory-based Rollover Tests

Many rollover safety researches have been conducted experimentally and analytically to investigate the underlying causes of vehicle accidents and develop rollover test procedures and test methodologies to help understand the nature of rollover crash events. In addition, electronic and/or mechanical instrumentation are used in dummy and vehicle to measure their responses that allow both vehicle kinematics study and occupant injury assessment. However, method for measurement of dynamic structural deformation needs further exploration, and means to monitor vehicle-to-ground contact load is still lacking. Thus, this paper presents a method for determining the vehicle-to-ground load during laboratory-based rollover tests using results obtained from a camera-matching photogrammetric technology as inputs to a FE SUV model using a nonlinear crash analysis code.
Technical Paper

Development of Numerical Models for Injury Biomechanics Research: A Review of 50 Years of Publications in the Stapp Car Crash Conference

Numerical analyses frequently accompany experimental investigations that study injury biomechanics and improvements in automotive safety. Limited by computational speed, earlier mathematical models tended to simplify the system under study so that a set of differential equations could be written and solved. Advances in computing technology and analysis software have enabled the development of many sophisticated models that have the potential to provide a more comprehensive understanding of human impact response, injury mechanisms, and tolerance. In this article, 50 years of publications on numerical modeling published in the Stapp Car Crash Conference Proceedings and Journal were reviewed. These models were based on: (a) author-developed equations and software, (b) public and commercially available programs to solve rigid body dynamic models (such as MVMA2D, CAL3D or ATB, and MADYMO), and (c) finite element models.