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Technical Paper

Quantification of Sternum Morphomics and Injury Data

Crash safety researchers have an increased concern regarding the decreased thoracic deflection and the contributing injury causation factors among the elderly population. Sternum fractures are categorized as moderate severity injuries, but can have long term effects depending on the fragility and frailty of the occupant. Current research has provided detail on rib morphology, but very little information on sternum morphology, sternum fracture locations, and mechanisms of injury. The objective of this study is two-fold (1) quantify sternum morphology and (2) document sternum fracture locations using computed tomography (CT) scans and crash data. Thoracic CT scans from the University of Michigan Hospital database were used to measure thoracic depth, manubriosternal joint, sternum thickness and bone density. The sternum fracture locations and descriptions were extracted from 63 International Center for Automotive Medicine (ICAM) crash cases, of which 22 cases had corresponding CT scans.
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

Characterizing Vehicle Occupant Body Dimensions and Postures Using a Statistical Body Shape Model

Reliable, accurate data on vehicle occupant characteristics could be used to personalize the occupant experience, potentially improving both satisfaction and safety. Recent improvements in 3D camera technology and increased use of cameras in vehicles offer the capability to effectively capture data on vehicle occupant characteristics, including size, shape, posture, and position. In previous work, the body dimensions of standing individuals were reliably estimated by fitting a statistical body shape model (SBSM) to data from a consumer-grade depth camera (Microsoft Kinect). In the current study, the methodology was extended to consider seated vehicle occupants. The SBSM used in this work was developed using laser scan data gathered from 147 children with stature ranging from 100 to 160 cm and BMI from 12 to 27 kg/m2 in various sitting postures.
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

Installed Positions of Child Restraint Systems in Vehicle Second Rows

This study documented the position and orientation of child restraint systems (CRS) installed in the second rows of vehicles, creating a database of 486 installations. Thirty-one different CRS were evaluated, selected to provide a range of manufacturers, sizes, types, and weight limits. Eleven CRS were rear-facing only, fourteen were convertibles, five were combination restraints, and one was a booster. Ten top-selling vehicles were selected to provide a range of manufacturers and body styles: four sedans, four SUVS, one minivan, and one wagon. CRS were marked with three reference points on each moving component. The contours and landmarks of each CRS were first measured in the laboratory. Vehicle interior contours, belt anchors, and LATCH anchors were measured using a similar process. Then each CRS was installed in a vehicle using LATCH according to manufacturers' directions, and the reference points of each CRS component were measured to document the installed orientation.
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

Blast Protection Design of a Military Vehicle System Using a Magic Cube Approach

A Magic Cube (MQ) approach for crashworthiness design has been proposed in previous research [1]. The purpose of this paper is to extend the MQ approach to the blast protection design of a military vehicle system. By applying the Space Decompositions and Target Cascading processes of the MQ approach, three subsystem design problems are identified to systematize the blast protection design problem of a military vehicle. These three subsystems, including seat structure, restraint system, and under-body armor structure, are most influential to the overall blast-protective design target. The effects of a driver seat subsystem design and restraint-system subsystem design on system blast protection are investigated, along with a focused study on the under-body blast-protective structure design problem.
Technical Paper

Minimizing Read-Through When Creating a Mechanical Score in a Polymer Skin

When weakening a skin/foam bilaminate by mechanically scoring the polymer skin on its back surface, where it is bonded to the foam, the weakness of the bilaminate is determined by the depth of the score groove. The deeper the groove, the weaker the bilaminate. But also, the deeper the groove, the greater the tendency for read-through. Read-through is seeing on the front surface the location of this groove that was created on the back surface. Scored skins, after mounting flat on a glass plate, were viewed with an optical interferometer. It was found that the topographical feature that constituted read-through was a valley. A Silly Putty model was used to better understand the strains induced by mechanical scoring and this understanding was used to identify factors affecting read-through. Blade thickness and the ultimate elongation of the skin material were identified as factors. This work is applicable to certain types of passenger-side seamless airbag systems, for example.
Technical Paper

Seat Belt Retractor Rattle: Understanding Root Sources and Testing Methods

This paper describes the rattle mechanisms that exist in seat belt retractors and the vehicle acceleration conditions that induce these responses. Three principal sources of rattle include: 1) the sensor, 2) the spool, and 3) the lock pawl. In-vehicle acceleration measurements are used to characterize retractor excitation and are subsequently employed for laboratory testing of retractor rattle. The merits and demerits of two testing methods, based on frequency domain and time domain shaker control, are discussed.
Technical Paper

An Experiment-Based Model of Fabric Heat Transfer and Its Inclusion in Air Bag Deployment Simulations

A numerical model is presented that is capable of isolating and quantifying the heat flux from the gas within the bag to the air bag fabric due to internal surface convection during the inflator discharge period of an air bag deployment. The model is also capable of predicting the volume averaged fabric temperatures during the air bag deployment period. Implementation of the model into an air bag deployment code, namely Inflator Simulation Program (ISP), is presented along with the simulation results for typical inflators. The predicted effect of the heat loss from the bag gas to the fabric on the internal bag gas temperature and pressure and the resulting bulk fabric temperature as a function of fabric parameters and the inflator exit gas properties are presented for both permeable and impermeable air bag fabrics.
Technical Paper

Energy and Entropy in Airbag Deployment: The Effect on an Out-Of-Position Occupant

Deployment of an airbag or charging of a tank by an inflator-canister system is a highly dynamic process. Quantification of energy storage, energy flux, work done, flow rates, thermodynamic properties, and energy conservation are essential to describe the deployment process. The concepts of available work and entropy production are presented as useful parameters when evaluating airbag aggressivity from tank test results for different types of inflators. This paper presents a computational methodology to simulate a pyro- and a hybrid-inflator-canister-airbag system to predict the force pattern that could occur on an out-of-position occupant when the airbag deploys. Comparisons with experimental data have been made in all cases where data were available. These include driver-, passenger-, and side-airbag designs.
Technical Paper

Transient Heating of Air Bag Fabrics: Experiment and Modeling

A model is presented in which distinction is made between the contributions of the different mechanisms of heat transfer to an air bag fabric during deployment. An experimental setup, designed for simulation and recording of the thermal response of permeable and coated (impermeable) air bag fabrics, is described. Comparisons between the experimental results and numerical predictions show fair agreement. The preliminary results show that the model provides a framework in which the interplay between the three convective heat transfer coefficients (two surface and one volumetric) that affect the fabric temperature (and the heat loss from the upstream bag gas) can be examined. Currently the magnitude of these surface convective heat fluxes are being examined experimentally.
Technical Paper

An Evaluation of Airbag Tank-Test Results

The evaluation of the performance of a particular inflator for the design of the entire airbag system is typically carried out by examining the pressure pattern in a standard tank test. This study assesses the adequacy of the tank test as a true measure of the likely performance of the actual inflator-airbag system. Theoretical arguments, numerical experiments, and physical experiments show that the time rate of pressure change may be an appropriate measure to evaluate performance of a specific type of inflator, particularly if variations in the inflator design maintain the same working gas components. However, when evaluating and comparing the dynamic behavior between different types of inflators, the time rate of pressure change provides useful but incomplete information.
Technical Paper

Permeability and Transient Thermal Response of Airbag Fabrics

The permeability of some airbag fabrics is determined, along with the Ergun coefficient signifying departure from purely viscous flow, from gas flow rates and pressure drop measurements. The dependency of these coefficients on the fabric temperature is also examined. Preliminary results are reported on the transient response of these fabrics to temporal changes in the gas flow rate and temperature. The temperature history is measured and compared with the predictions of some simple models. The models make various assumptions regarding the microscale of the fabrics. The preliminary results show that the very fine microscales do not control the time response of the fabric.
Technical Paper

Infant and child anthropometry

Although over 800 references to child and infant anthropometry are in the literature, most have limited validity and application to current populations. Functional measures required by industry and government for federal safety standards for design of dummies, child products, furniture, or protective devices such as restraint systems have either been incomplete, inadequate, or nonexistent. Some of the limitations influencing validity of existing data have been outlined for the potential user. As a start toward obtaining necessary functional anthropometric data, The University of Michigan is currently conducting a study sponsored by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to obtain valid nationwide measurements on a representative U.S. population from birth to age 12 years. In this study some 41 measurements, including many functional measures, as well as seated and supine whole-body centers of gravity, are being taken utilizing a new automated anthropometric minicomputer system.