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Technical Paper

An Analytical Review and Extension of Two Decades of Research Related to PC-Crash Simulation Software

PC-Crash is a vehicular accident simulation software that is widely used by the accident reconstruction community. The goal of this article is to review the prior literature that has addressed the capabilities of PC-Crash and its accuracy and reliability for various applications (planar collisions, rollovers, and human motion). In addition, this article aims to add additional analysis of the capabilities of PC-Crash for simulating planar collisions and rollovers. Simulation analysis of five planar collisions originally reported and analyzed by Bailey [2000] are reexamined. For all five of these collisions, simulations were obtained with the actual impact speeds that exhibited excellent visual agreement with the physical evidence. These simulations demonstrate that, for each case, the PC-Crash software had the ability to generate a simulation that matched the actual impact speeds and the known physical evidence.
Technical Paper

Post-Impact Dynamics for Vehicles with a High Yaw Velocity

Calculating the speed of a yawing and braked vehicle often requires an estimate of the vehicle deceleration. During a steering induced yaw, the rotational velocity of the vehicle will typically be small enough that it will not make up a significant portion of the vehicle’s energy. However, when a yaw is impact induced and the resulting yaw velocity is high, the rotational component of the vehicle’s kinetic energy can be significant relative to the translational component. In such cases, the rotational velocity can have a meaningful effect on the deceleration, since there is additional energy that needs dissipated and since the vehicle tires can travel a substantially different distance than the vehicle center of gravity. In addition to the effects of rotational energy on the deceleration, high yaw velocities can also cause steering angles to develop at the front tires. This too can affect the deceleration since it will influence the slip angles at the front tires.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Calculated Speeds for a Yawing and Braking Vehicle to Full-Scale Vehicle Tests

Accurately reconstructing the speed of a yawing and braking vehicle requires an estimate of the varying rates at which the vehicle decelerated. This paper explores the accuracy of several approaches to making this calculation. The first approach uses the Bakker-Nyborg-Pacejka (BNP) tire force model in conjunction with the Nicolas-Comstock-Brach (NCB) combined tire force equations to calculate a yawing and braking vehicle's deceleration rate. Application of this model in a crash reconstruction context will typically require the use of generic tire model parameters, and so, the research in this paper explored the accuracy of using such generic parameters. The paper then examines a simpler equation for calculating a yawing and braking vehicle's deceleration rate which was proposed by Martinez and Schlueter in a 1996 paper. It is demonstrated that this equation exhibits physically unrealistic behavior that precludes it from being used to accurately determine a vehicle's deceleration rate.
Technical Paper

Analysis of a Dolly Rollover with PC-Crash

This paper evaluates the use of PC-Crash simulation software for modeling the dynamics of a dolly rollover crash test. The specific test used for this research utilized a Ford sport utility vehicle and was run in accordance with SAE J2114. Scratches, gouges, tire marks and paint deposited on the test surface by the test vehicle were documented photographically and by digital survey and a diagram containing the layout of these items was created. The authors reviewed the test video to determine which part of the vehicle deposited each of these pieces of evidence. Position and orientation data for the vehicle in the test were then obtained using video analysis techniques. This data was then analyzed to determine the vehicle’s translational and rotational velocities throughout the test. Next, the test was modeled using PC-Crash.
Journal Article

Determining Vehicle Steering and Braking from Yaw Mark Striations

This paper presents equations that relate the orientation and spacing of yaw mark striations to the vehicle braking and steering levels present at the time the striations were deposited. These equations, thus, provide a link between physical evidence deposited on a roadway during a crash (the tire mark striations) and actions taken by the driver during that crash (steering and braking inputs). This paper also presents physical yaw tests during which striated yaw marks were deposited. Analysis of these tests is conducted to address the degree to which the presented equations can be used to determine a driver’s actual steering and braking inputs. As a result of this testing and analysis, it was concluded that striated tire marks can offer a meaningful glimpse into the steering and braking behavior of the driver of a yawing vehicle. It was also found that consideration of yaw striations allows for the reconstruction of a vehicle’s post-impact yaw motion from a single tire mark.
Technical Paper

The Influence of Vehicle-to-Ground Impact Conditions on Rollover Dynamics and Severity

This paper explores the influence of the impact conditions on the dynamics and the severity of rollover crashes. Causal connections are sought between the impact conditions and the crash attributes to which they lead. The paper begins by extending previously presented equations that describe the dynamics of an idealized vehicle-to-ground impact. It then considers the behavior of these equations under a variety of impact conditions that occur during real-world rollovers. Specifically, the equations of this impact model are used to explore the ways in which and the extent to which rollover dynamics and severity are influenced by the following factors: (1) the vehicle's shape and its orientation at impact, (2) its weight, center-of-mass location, and roll moment of inertia, (3) its translational speed, (4) its downward velocity, and (5) its roll velocity. Throughout this discussion, data from real-world and staged rollover crashes is used to give the parameter study an empirical basis.
Journal Article

A Method to Quantify Vehicle Dynamics and Deformation for Vehicle Rollover Tests Using Camera-Matching Video Analysis

This paper examines the use of camera-matching video analysis techniques to quantify the vehicle dynamics and deformation for a dolly rollover test run in accordance with the SAE Recommended Practice J2114. The method presented enables vehicle motion data and deformation measurements to be obtained without the use of the automated target tracking employed by existing motion tracking systems. Since it does not rely on this automated target tracking, the method can be used to analyze video from rollover tests which were not setup in accordance with the requirements of these automated motion tracking systems. The method also provides a straightforward technique for relating the motion of points on the test vehicle to the motion of the vehicle's center-of-mass. This paper, first, describes the specific rollover test that was utilized. Then, the camera-matching method that was used to obtain the vehicle motion data and deformation measurements is described.
Technical Paper

Factors Influencing Roof-to-Ground Impact Severity: Video Analysis and Analytical Modeling

This paper explores the dynamics of rollover crashes and examines factors that influence the severity of the roof-to-ground impacts that occur during these crashes. The paper first reports analysis of 12 real-world rollover accidents that were captured on video. Roll rate time histories for the vehicles in these accidents are reported and the characteristics of these curves are analyzed. Next, the paper uses analytical modeling to explore the influence that the trip phase characteristics may have on the severity of roof-to-ground impacts that occur during the roll phase. Finally, the principle of impulse and momentum is used to derive an analytical impact model for examining the mechanics of a roof-to-ground impact. This modeling is used to identify the influence of various impact conditions on the severity of a roof-to-ground impact.