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Technical Paper

Bolster Impacts to the Knee and Tibia of Human Cadavers and an Anthropomorphic Dummy

Knee bolsters on the lower instrument panel have been designed to control occupant kinematics during sudden deceleration. However, a wide variability in car occupant anthropometry and choice of seating posture indicates that lower-extremity contacts with the impingement bolster could predominantly load the flexed leg through the knee (acting through the femur) or through the tibia (acting through the knee joint). Potential injuries associated with these types of primary loading may vary significantly and an understanding of potential trauma mechanisms is important for proper occupant restraint.
Technical Paper

Factors Influencing Knee Restraint

A planar mathematical model was developed to provide means of studying factors which can influence the function of lower torso restraint via a padded lower instrument panel or knee bolster. The following factors were judged to play the most significant role: 1) initial fore-and-aft position of the seated occupant relative to the knee restraint; 2) location of the knee-to-bolster contact; 3) angular orientation of the bolster face; 4) primary axis of the bolster resisting force, 5) variations in vehicle crash parameters (e.g., toepan rotation and displacement and seat deflection); and 6) deformation characteristics of the bolster. The model of a seated occupant included radiographic and empirical data on the anatomy of the links and joints in the lower extremity.
Technical Paper

Methodologies and Measuring Devices to Investigate Steering Systems in Crashed Cars

Post-crash conditions of a car's steering system, when properly measured and documented, provide an insight to the interaction between the driver and the steering system that occurs during a frontal car crash. Steering system conditions were investigated in two interrelated phases: 1. Deformation of the wheel rim, spokes, and hub, and 2. Compression resistance force of the steering column. Two devices were developed to document the “crash loading” response of these two segments of the car's steering system. One device was designed to measure the deformations of the steering wheel and the other the force required to further compress the steering column. An initial test series on 19 “crashed” cars “field tested” the devices, developed the test techniques and procedures needed for in-depth studies, and formulated necessary data handling methods and data collection forms.
Technical Paper

Test Dummy Interaction with a Shoulder or Lap Belt

Belt interaction with the dummy's chest or pelvis was investigated during simulated frontal decelerations to develop a better understanding of the mechanics of belt restraint. Hyge sled tests were conducted at acceleration levels of 6-16 g's with a Part 572 dummy forward facing on an automotive bucket seat. Dynamics were compared in similar tests where the dummy was restrained by a conventional shoulder belt or belt segments attached to a modified sternum - a steel sternum with extensions for fixed belt attachments. Tests were also conducted with a conventional lap belt or belt segments fixed to an extension of the H point. Deformation characteristics of the standard and modified thorax were determined for a lateral and superior point load or a belt yoke compression of the sternum. The pelvic structure was also compressed by a lap belt. Our evaluation of test dummy dynamics indicates the following sequence of events with a conventional shoulder belt: 1.)
Technical Paper

Influence of Lateral Restraint on Occupant Interaction with a Shoulder Belt or Preinflated Air Bag in Oblique Impacts

Sled tests were conducted at farside oblique angles of 15°, 45°, and 75° with a Part 572 dummy restrained by a conventional driver lap/shoulder belt system or a preinflated driver inflatable restaint. Occupant dynamics were compared in similar tests where an inboard energy absorbing lateral restraint of the upper torso was or was not used. It can be concluded that the seat wing improves the control of the dummy's dynamics in oblique impacts by directing the occupant's motion more forward into the restraint system, thereby taking more advantage of the restraining potential of the shoulder belt or inflatable restraint in controlling the deceleration of the dummy and enhancing the benefit of the restraint system. However, additional factors associated with the use of a seat wing remain to be investigated including the effect of impact force on the occupant, interaction with out-of-position occupants and comfort/convenience.
Technical Paper

Influence of Crush Orientation on Knee Bolster Function in Barrier Crash Simulation

Barrier crash simulations with a torsobelted Part 572 dummy were conducted to determine the influence of knee bolster crush orientations of 0°–60° on lower extremity restraint. Responses from two sled velocity and mean deceleration severities were investigated: 6.6 m/s at 7.5 g and 13.5 m/s at 13.9 g. The dummy’s knees were prepositioned 10 cm from individual experimental bolsters, which crushed along a predetermined axis. Bolster orientation had only a minor effect on the level of peak dummy femur, and resultant knee bolster reaction load and on lower extremity kinematics of the torsobelted occupant; however, the local loading of the knee and level of tibial compression were significantly influenced.
Technical Paper

Influence of Initial Length of Lap-Shoulder Belt on Occupant Dynamics-A Comparison of Sled Testing and MVMA–2D Modeling

The primary purpose of this parameter study was to carefully document occupant dynamics in well-controlled sled tests for comparison with simulated responses from the MVMA-2D analytical model. The test involved a Part 572 dummy exposed to a frontal deceleration while on a bucket seat and restrained by a lap-shoulder belt system. The length of belt webbing was incrementally increased from a snug configuration by as much as 30 cm. The addition of webbing increased the forward excursion, velocity, and acceleration of the head, chest, and hip without affecting the peak tension in the belt segments of the restraint system. Belt tension was identified as a poor measure of the horizontal load on the chest due to significant reaction forces in the lateral and vertical direction at the belt anchorages.
Technical Paper

Performance of a Shoulder Belt and Knee Restraint in Barrier Crash Simulations

Previous pendulum impact tests have shown that knee joint injuries and tibial-fibular fractures may occur when loads are directed against the lower leg rather than directly against the femur in the knee. In order to further improve our understanding of lower extremity restraint mechanics, simulated frontal barrier crash experiments were conducted with unembalmed human cadavers and an anthropomorphic dummy restrained by a two-point shoulder belt. In the first test, an experimental bolster was specifically positioned so that the cadaver's lower leg would strike the bolster, thus inducing restraining loads entirely below the knee joint. The analysis of occupant kinematics showed that the flexed knee rode over and forward of the low-positioned bolster. Restraint induced considerable shearing load across the knee joint. Bolster measurements indicated a peak load of approximately 4.0 kN per leg which resulted in a contralateral central tear of the posterior cruciate ligaments.
Technical Paper

A Study of Driver Interactions with an Inflating Air Cushion

Conceptually, a steering wheel mounted air cushion is inflated before the upper torso of the driver significantly interacts with the cushion. However, this might not be the case for some seating postures or vehicle crash environments which could cause the driver to significantly interact with an inflating cushion. These experiments utilized several environments to study the interaction between an inflating driver air cushion and mechanical surrogates. In these laboratory environments, the measured responses of mechanical surrogates increased with diminishing distance between the surrogate's sternum and the steering wheel mounted air cushion.