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Technical Paper


Occupant simulation models have been used to study trends or specific design changes in “typical” accident modes such as frontal, side, rear, and rollover. This paper explores the usage of the Articulated Total Body Program (ATB) as an accident reconstruction tool. The importance of model validation is discussed. Specific areas of concern such as the contact model, force-deflection data, occupant parameters, restraint system models, head/neck loadings, padding, and intrusion are discussed in the context of accident reconstruction.
Technical Paper

Design, Development and Testing of a Load-Sensing Crash Dummy Face

This project covers one facet of a program to develop a mechanical model for characterizing the time history of local forces on the zygomatic, maxillary and mandible regions of the human face during a frontal collision. Two mechanical devices to measure the forces on crash dummies during testing were designed, constructed and tested. The devices employed cantilever beams equipped with strain gauges. Both devices were subjected to a series of drop tests onto various materials. Time histories were compared to those obtained from cadaver experiments. While the data obtained from this testing appears to be similar to the cadaver data, further improvements and modifications will make the model much more useful.
Technical Paper

The VTS Single-Vehicle Trajectory Simulation

A vehicle trajectory simulation called VTS has been developed as an aid for reconstruction of automobile accidents. The two dimensional vehicle has longitudinal, lateral and yaw degrees of freedom, a point mass at the center of gravity) yaw inertia about the center of gravity and four contact points (“tires”) which can be arbitrarily positioned. No collision or aerodynamic forces are modeled. The traction surface is represented as a flat plane with a specified nominal friction coefficient. Several quadrilateral “patches” may be applied to the surface to change the friction coefficient in specific regions. User vehicle control consists of timewise tables for steering angle and traction coefficient for each of the four wheels. When used individually or in conjunction with other computer modules, VTS provides a convenient, accurate modular tool for trajectory simulation.
Technical Paper

Inaccuracies in the CRASHS Program

The CRASH3 computer program, a well known and useful tool in accident reconstruction, is shown to be innaccurate by comparison with car-to-car crash test data. Claims for accuracy of about 10 percent cannot be validated. Both the impact model and the damage only model yield results which are in error. Cases involving error well in excess of 20 percent are demonstrated. These inaccuracies are due primarily to the omission of terms in the formulation of the energy equation and to the sensitivity of the solution to the input estimate of principle-direction-of-force.
Technical Paper

Crush Energy in Accident Reconstruction

Vehicle accident reconstruction methods based on deformation energy are argued to be an increasingly valuable tool to the accident reconstructionist, provided reliable data, reasonable analysis techniques, and sound engineering judgement accompany their use. The evolution of the CRASH model of vehicle structural response and its corresponding stiffness coefficients are reviewed. It is concluded that the deformation energy for an accident vehicle can be estimated using the CRASH model provided that test data specific to the accident vehicle is utilized. Published stiffness coefficients for vehicle size categories are generally not appropriate. For the purpose of estimating vehicle deformation energy, a straight-forward methodology is presented which consists of applying the results of staged crash tests. The process of translating crush profiles to estimates of vehicle deformation energies and velocities is also discussed.
Technical Paper

The Assessment of the Societal Benefit of Side Impact Protection

This paper summarizes work relating to the assessment of societal benefits of side impact protection. National Crash Severity Study (NCSS) and National Accident Sampling System (NASS) accident data technigues were reviewed with respect to the reliability of output information concerning the distribution of side impact accidents by impact severity and relationships between injury and impact severity. NCSS and NASS are confounded by errors and inadequacies, primarily as a result of improper accident reconstruction based upon the CRASH computer program. Based on review of several sample cases, it is believed that the NCSS/NASS files underestimate Lower severities and overestimate higher severities in side impact, with delta-V errors probably overestimated by 25-30 percent in the case of the more serious accidents. These errors cannot be properly quantified except on a case-by-case basis. They introduce unknown biases into NCSS/NASS.
Technical Paper

A Perspective on Side Impact Occupant Crash Protection

The NHTSA notices of proposed rulemaking on side impact protection have focused worldwide attention on one of the most difficult and frustrating efforts in automobile crash safety. Traditional vehicle design has evolved obvious structural contrasts between the side of the struck vehicle and the front of the striking vehicle. Protection of near-side occupants from intruding door structure is a most perplexing engineering challenge. Much useful and insightful engineering work has been done in conjunction with NHTSA's proposed rulemaking. However, there are many major engineering issues which demand further definition before reasonable side impact rulemaking test criteria can be finalized. This paper reviews recent findings which characterize the human factors, biomechanics, and occupant position envelope of the typical side impact crash victim.
Technical Paper

Thoracic Impact Response of Live Porcine Subjects

Five anesthetized porcine subjects were exposed to blunt thoracic impact using a 21 kg mass with a flat contact surface traveling at 3.0 to 12.2 m/s. The experiments were conducted to assess the appropriateness of studying in vivo mechanical and physiological response to thoracic impact in a porcine animal model. A comprehensive review of comparative anatomy between the pig and man indicates that the cardiovascular, respiratory and thoracic skeletal systems of the pig are anatomically and functionally a good parallel of similar structures in man. Thoracic anthropometry measurements document that the chest of a 50 to 60 kg pig is similar to the 50th percentile adult male human, but is narrower and deeper. Peak applied force and chest deflection are in good agreement between the animal's responses and similar impact severity data on fresh cadavers.
Technical Paper

The Accuracy and Usefulness of SMAC

Computer-aided crash reconstruction has become common-place in the automotive safety profession, primarily because of widespread distribution of software under public auspices. The SMAC (Simulation Model of Automobile Collisions) program, for instance, is available through NHTSA at nominal cost. This paper exhibits some of the limitations and strengths of accident reconstruction simulations, with illustrations and emphasis drawn from the SMAC program. In particular, some coarse physical approximations used and some coding errors incurred in the formulation of SMAC are discussed, together with their respective effects on the accuracy of prediction. Revisions of the basic SMAC coding have been developed at BYU to overcome these shortcomings. Results of uncorrected and revised SMAC simulations are demonstrated by comparison with the physical theory. Comments regarding a new SMAC program just completed under U.S. Government contract are presented where appropriate.
Technical Paper

Injury and Intrusion in Side Impacts and Rollovers

The relationship between occupant crash injury and occupant compartment intrusion is seen in the perspectives of the velocity-time analysis and the NCSS statistical data for two important accident injury modes, lateral and rollover collisions. Restraint system use, interior impacts, and vehicle design features are considered. Side impact intrusion is analyzed from physical principles and further demonstrated by reference to staged collisions and NCSS data. Recent publications regarding findings of the NCSS data for rollovers, as well as the NCSS data itself, are reviewed as a background for kinematic findings regarding occupant injury in rollovers with roof crush.
Technical Paper

Roadway Asphalt Damage Force Analysis for Accident Reconstruction

In reconstruction of on-roadway vehicle accidents, tire-road surface friction coefficient, mu (μ), can be estimated using a variety of available data. Common ranges and values for μ are used in calculations forming the foundation for most accident reconstruction techniques. When the roadway surface is gouged or disrupted by vehicle components, accounting of dissipated energy can be successful where supporting force data exists. Roadway gouge forces can vary widely depending upon such factors as road surface construction, surface temperature, and the velocity and geometry of the gouging mechanism. Such dissipated energy can be significant in accounting of total reconstruction energy. This paper presents experiments aimed at quantifying gouge force by controlled pavement gouging tests.
Technical Paper

Friction Applications in Accident Reconstruction

The determination of appropriate friction coefficient values is an important aspect of accident reconstruction. Tire-roadway friction values are highly dependent on a variety of physical factors. Factors such as tire design, side force limitations, road surface wetness, vehicle speed, and load shifting require understanding if useful reconstruction calculations are to be made. Tabulated experimental friction coefficient data are available, and may be improved upon in many situations by simple testing procedures. This paper presents a technical review of basic concepts and principles of friction as they apply to accident reconstruction and automobile safety. A brief review of test measurement methods is also presented, together with simple methods of friction measurement to obtain more precise values in many situations. This paper also recommends coefficient values for reconstruction applications other than tire- roadway forces.
Technical Paper

Occupant Protection in Rear-end Collisions: II. The Role of Seat Back Deformation in Injury Reduction

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently opened a rulemaking docket seeking comments on the design of automobile seats and their performance in rear Impacts. There are two philosophies of seat design: one advocates rigid seats, the other advocates seats which yield in a controlled manner. A review of the legislative history of seat back design standards indicates that yielding seats have historically been considered a better approach for passenger cars. The design characteristics of current production automobile seats are evaluated and show no significant changes over the past three decades. Concerns about the performance of rigid seat backs in real world rear impacts are discussed, specifically increased injury exposure due to ramping, rebound and out-of-position occupants.