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Technical Paper

Application of Kinematic Concepts to Side Impact Injury Analysis

An understanding of fundamental kinematic relationships among the several deforming surfaces of side-impacting bullet and target vehicle, occupant protection system and occupant is fundamental to rational design of crash injury counter-measures. Unfortunately, such understanding is not easy to achieve. Side impacts address the full range of bodily contacts and injuries in a way that challenges analysis. Each bodily area and organ requires individual consideration for adequate injury protection. This paper presents a simplified graphical analysis of occupant kinematics and injury exposure applied specifically to the NHTSA-proposed crabbed moving deformable barrier (MDB) compartment impact, as described in NHTSA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 214, issued in January of 1988 [NHTSA 1988 (1)*]. Projections are offered regarding the potential of thoracic injury counter-measures.
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

Aerodynamic Drag Studies on Rolling Vehicles by Underwater Tow Testing

The aerodynamic drag of rolling vehicles was studied by towing pairs of side-by-side identical small-scale models in rolling contact with the bottom of a water-filled trough. An instrumented towbar measured the difference in the models' overall drag forces in order to determine the effect of changes in a model's configuration on its aerodynamic drag. The effects of wheel-rim covers, axle fairings, and wheel-housing volume on vehicle drag were studied with the test apparatus. The magnitude of the effects were well outside the range of experimental error, and correlated well with published results of similar studies performed in wind tunnels. Testing indicated that lift-induced changes in vehicle rolling resistance would not significantly alter results of tow testing under normal circumstances. Advantages of the underwater tow test include the ability to inexpensively simulate rotating wheels and to study the interaction between rotating wheels on a moving vehicle and the ground plane.
Journal Article

Measurement and Modeling of Rollover Airborne Trajectories

Much has been written about reconstruction techniques and testing methods concerning vehicle rollovers. To date, most of the literature describes rollovers as one-dimensional events. Rollovers account for a disproportionate fraction of serious injuries and fatalities among all motor vehicle accidents. The three-dimensional nature of rollover sequences in which a rolling vehicle experiences multiple ground contacts contributes to the environment where such injuries occur. An analytical technique is developed to model the airborne segments of a rollover sequence as a parabolic path of the vehicle center of gravity. A formulation for the center of gravity descent from maximum elevation to full ground contact is developed. This formulation contains variables that may be readily determined from a thorough reconstruction. Ultimately, this formulation will also provide a vertical ground impact velocity at contact.
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.