Comparison of Energy Management Materials for Head Impact Protection
Energy management materials are widely used in automotive interiors in instrument panel, knee bolster, and door absorber applications to reduce the risk of injury to an occupant during a crash. Automobile manufacturers must meet standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that identify maximum levels of injury to an occupant. The recent NHTSA upgrade to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 201 test procedure(1) for upper interior head impact protection has prompted energy management materials' use in several new areas of affected vehicles. While vehicle evaluations continue, results to date show that energy management foams can be effective in reducing the head injury criterion [HIC(d)] to acceptable government and OEM levels.