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Technical Paper

Evaluating Frontal Crash Test Force-Deformation Data for Vehicle to Vehicle Frontal Crash Compatibility

Vehicle stiffness is one of the three major factors in vehicle to vehicle compatibility in a frontal crash; the other two factors are vehicle mass and frontal geometry. Vehicle to vehicle compatibility in turn is an increasingly important topic due to the rapid change in the size and characteristics of the automotive fleet, particularly the increase of the percentage of trucks and SUVs. Due to the non-linear nature of the mechanics of vehicle structure, frontal stiffness is not a properly defined metric. This research is aimed at developing a well defined method to quantify frontal stiffness for vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility. The method to be developed should predict crash outcome and controlling the defined metric should improve the crash outcome. The criterion that is used to judge the aggressivity of a vehicle in this method is the amount of deformation caused to the vulnerable vehicles when crashed with the subject vehicle.
Technical Paper

Fire Occurrence in Rollover Crashes Based on NASS/CDS

This paper uses NASS/CDS 1997-2004 to determine the crash factors that are most frequently associated with rollover fires. Rollover fire cases were analyzed by the NASS variables including vehicle type, fire origin, number of quarter-turns, and final rest position. Results show that the engine compartment was the most frequent location for the fire origin. The fuel tank was second in this category. The rest position on the roof was most frequently associated with fires in rollovers. However, the fire rate was not strongly influenced by the final rest position. High severity rollovers that involve more than eight quarter-turns or end-over-end motion had fire rates much higher than the average. An examination of 24 cases with major fires in recent model year vehicles found that impacts prior to the rollover occurred in more than half of the cases. All of the cases with leakage from the fuel tank had impacts prior to the rollover.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Frontal Stiffness in a Front to Front Crash

In the effort to understand and solve the frontal crash compatibility problem, one needs to use values of frontal stiffness. Various definitions of stiffness have been used in other studies based on measurements from NHTSA's 35mph frontal NCAP test. Those definitions varied from assuming a linear stiffness based on static crush to more refined ones that vary with time dependent crush. A major consideration in selecting a method is the amount of vehicle damage that occurs in an incompatible crash. To partially address this issue, a method was introduced based on the energy absorbed in a front to front crash at 25mph approach speed. Four alternative definitions of stiffness were studied.
Technical Paper

Alternative Fuel Tanks for Pickups with Sidesaddle Tanks

Seventeen full-scale crash tests were conducted to evaluate technologies to reduce the vulnerability of sidesaddle tanks on full size GM pickup trucks manufactured during the period 1973-1987. These vehicles were alleged by the U.S. Department of Transportation to be vulnerable in severe side impacts. The test program was intended to evaluate designs that would reduce vulnerability in all crash directions. The best test results were obtained by two strategies that relocated the tank to less vulnerable locations. The two locations were: (1) in the cargo bed (bed mounted tank) and (2) underneath the bed, ahead of the rear axle and between the frame rails (center-mounted tank). Tanks mounted in these locations were subjected to a series of crash tests that simulated severe front, side, rear and rollover crashes. The crash environment for these tests was more severe than required by FMVSS 301 “Fuel System Integrity”.
Technical Paper

Side Impact Injury Risk for Belted Far Side Passenger Vehicle Occupants

In a side impact, the occupants on both the struck, or near side, of the vehicle and the occupants on the opposite, or far side, of the vehicle are at risk of injury. Since model year 1997, all passenger cars in the U.S. have been required to comply with FMVSS No. 214, a safety standard that mandates a minimum level of side crash protection for near side occupants. No such federal safety standard exists for far side occupants. The mechanism of far side injury is believed to be quite different than the injury mechanism for near side injury. Far side impact protection may require the development of different countermeasures than those which are effective for near side impact protection. This paper evaluates the risk of side crash injury for far side occupants as a basis for developing far side impact injury countermeasures. Based on the analysis of NASS/CDS 1993–2002, this study examines the injury outcome of over 4500 car, light truck, and van occupants subjected to far side impact.
Technical Paper

Crashworthiness Safety Features in Rollover Crashes

Rollover crashes continue to be a serious and growing vehicle safety problem. Rollovers account for about 9% of passenger car crashes, and 26% of light truck crashes. Belt use in rollover crashes is about 51%, compared with 62% in planar crashes. Overall, 26.4% of the serious and fatal injuries to occupants exposed to crashes are in rollovers. Among this injured population 74.4% are unbelted. In light trucks, rollovers account for 47.4% of the serious or fatal injuries. Unbelted occupants suffer about 87% of the serious injuries and fatalities in light truck rollovers. The use of safety belts offers a dramatic reduction in injury rates for rollover crashes. For belted occupants of pickup trucks and utility vehicles in rollover crashes, the injury rates are about the same as for belted occupants of passenger cars in planar crashes. Improvementsts in safety belts offer large opportunities in safety.