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Technical Paper

Thoracic Impact: A Viscous Tolerance Criterion

There are currently two accepted criteria for assessment act exposures. Our studies have shown an interaction between the deformation velocity and level of compression during impact, resulting in a greater compression tolerance for low-speed impact than for high-speed loadings. High-speed thoracic impact can cause critical or fatal injury in physiologic experiments before exceeding the acceleration or compression tolerance. The velocity-sensitive tolerance is represented by the maximum product of velocity of deformation and compression, which is derivable from the chest compression response. As the magnitude of this “viscous” response increases, the risk of serious or fatal injury increases. This paper discusses the analysis of available literature and results from our laboratory and demonstrates the need for a viscous tolerance criterion to assess chest impact protection in high-velocity impact.
Technical Paper

Crash Injury Risks for Obese Occupants

Obesity rates are reaching an epidemic worldwide. In the US, nearly 40 million people are obese. The automotive safety community is starting to question the impact of obesity on occupant protection. This study investigates fatality and serious injury risks for front-seat occupants by Body Mass Index (BMI). NASS-CDS data was analyzed for calendar years 1993-2004. Occupant exposure and injury was divided in seven BMI categories with obese defined as those with BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2. Injuries were studied for drivers and right-front passengers and included analysis of lap-shoulder belted and unbelted occupants. The results show that obese occupants have a higher fatality risk compared to normal BMI occupants; morbidly obese occupants (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) have 2.25 times higher fatality risk (1.15% v 0.51%). The fatality risk for belted obese drivers was 0.29%, which was 6.7 times lower than the 1.94% for those unbelted. These rates are similar to other BMI occupants.
Journal Article

Vehicle and Occupant Responses in a Friction Trip Rollover Test

Objective: A friction rollover test was conducted as part of a rollover sensing project. This study evaluates vehicle and occupant responses in the test. Methods: A flat dolly carried a Saab 9-3 sedan laterally, passenger-side leading to a release point at 42 km/h (26 mph) onto a high-friction surface. The vehicle was equipped with roll, pitch and yaw gyros near the center of gravity. Accelerometers were placed at the vehicle center tunnel, A-pillar near the roof, B-pillar near the sill, suspension sub-frame and wheels. Five off-board and two on-board cameras recorded kinematics. Hybrid III dummies were instrumented for head and chest acceleration and upper neck force and moment. Belt loads were measured. Results: The vehicle release caused the tires and then wheel rims to skid on the high-friction surface. The trip involved roll angular velocities >300 deg/s at 0.5 s and a far-side impact on the driver’s side roof at 0.94 s. The driver was inverted in the far-side, ground impact.
Technical Paper

Rear-Seat Occupant Responses in NHTSA Rear Crash Tests

This study analyzed FMVSS 301 rear impact tests with an instrumented rear-seat dummy. NHTSA conducted 15 FMVSS 301 rear crash tests with an instrumented and belted 50th Hybrid III dummy in the rear seat. In series 1, there were three repeat tests with the Jeep Liberty and two others, but no onboard camera view. In series 2, there were 8 tests with 2003-2005 MY (model year) vehicles that had rear head restraints. In series 3, there were two tests with 2004-2005 MY vehicles that did not have rear head restraints. There was an onboard camera view of the rear occupant in series 2 and 3. The dummy responses were evaluated and compared to relevant IARVs (injury assessment reference values). Based on the HRMD, the average height of the rear head restraints was 80.4 ± 3.4 cm (31.6″ ± 1.3″) above the H-point. In series 1, the delta V was 24.4 ± 2.0 km/h (15.2 ± 1.3 mph).
Technical Paper

Abdominal Injuries in Frontal Crashes: Influence of Occupant Age and Seating Position

Objective: This study investigated the incidence of abdominal injuries in frontal crashes by occupant age and seating position. It determined the risk for abdominal injury (AIS 2+) by organ and injury source. Methods: 1997-2015 NASS-CDS was analyzed to estimate the occurrence of abdominal injuries in non-ejected, belted occupants involved in frontal crashes. Vehicles were included with 1997+ model year (MY). The annual incidence and rate for different types of abdominal injury were estimated with standard errors. The sources for abdominal injury were determined. Results: 77.8% of occupants were drivers, 16.7% were right-front passengers and 5.4% were rear passengers. Rear passengers accounted for 77.1% of 8-11 year old (yo) and 17.2% of 12-17 yo group. The risk for moderate abdominal injury (MAIS 2 + abdo) was 0.30% ± 0.053% in drivers, 0.32% ± 0.086% in right-front passengers and 0.38% ± 0.063% in rear occupants.
Technical Paper

Lumbar Spine Fractures in Undercarriage Impacts: Analysis of 1997-2015 NASS-CDS

Objective: This is a descriptive study of the incidence of spinal injury by crash type using NASS-CDS. It provides an understanding of impacts to the undercarriage of the vehicle and injuries to the lumbar spine by reviewing electronic cases in NASS-CDS to determine crash circumstances for fractures of the lumbar spine with undercarriage impacts. Methods: 1997-2015 NASS-CDS was evaluated for serious injury (MAIS 3 + F) to front-seat occupants by seatbelt use and crash type in 1994+ MY vehicles. Undercarriage impacts were defined by GAD1 = U without a rollover. Serious injury was defined as MAIS 3 + F. Spinal injuries AIS 3+ were separated into cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions. Weighted data was determined using ratio weight. NASS-CDS electronic cases were downloaded from NHTSA with AIS 3+ lumbar spine injuries in undercarriage impacts. Results: There were 2,160 MAIS 3 + F injured occupants in undercarriage impacts. This was 0.23% of all serious injury.
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

Postural Influences on Thoracic Impact

The influence of body posture, and inherently support, on thoracic impact response was investigated in an animal model. Anesthetized and postmortem domestic swine were exposed to blunt, midsternal loading while supported in their natural quadrupedal posture, and the results were compared with previously reported data from similar tests involving an upright body orientation. Twelve male animals were tested, six while anesthetized and six postmortem. Each animal was impacted once by a 21 kg rigid mass with a flat contact interface moving at a nominal velocity of either 8 or 10 m/s. Measured mechanical responses included applied load, sternal and spinal accelerations, thoracic compression and aortic overpressure. Injury response was assessed from a thoracico-abdominal necropsy. In addition, ECG traces were recorded pre and postimpact to monitor electro-physiological response.
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

MVMA 2-D Modeling of Occupant Kinematics in Rollovers

This paper describes the mathematical modeling of occupant kinematics in rollover accidents using the MVMA 2-D occupant motion simulation software. What little information is available on the kinematics of vehicle occupants during rollover accidents has been obtained either after the fact by accident reconstruction or by expensive experimentally-staged events. The paper describes the use of less expensive analytical techniques to graphically illustrate the applicability of occupant motion simulation computer models to this problem.
Technical Paper

Influence of the Surrogate in Laboratory Evaluation of Energy-Absorbing Steering System

Various surrogates and responses are available for study of the impact performance of energy absorbing steering systems in the laboratory. The relative influence of the SAE J-944 body block, the Part 572 dummy, and the GM Hybrid III dummy and of the associated thoracic responses were investigated for steering assembly impact in a series of sled tests. Not only did response amplitudes differ among the surrogates but more importantly trends in impact performance associated with modifications of the steering assembly depended on the choice of surrogate and response. The Hybrid III dummy was judged the best of the tested surrogates for study of the steering system impact performance in the laboratory, based on its more humanlike construction, impact response and expanded measurement capacity.
Technical Paper

Measurement of Head Dynamics and Facial Contact Forces In the Hybrid III Dummy

Injury and disability associated with head (brain), neck (spinal cord) and facial injury account for 61.7% of the total societal Harm in the most recent estimate of motor-vehicle related crash injuries. This paper discusses the need for accurate information on translational and rotational acceleration of the head as the first step in critiquing the Head Injury Criterion (HIC) and other injury predictive methods, and developing a fuller understanding of brain and spinal cord injury mechanisms. A measurement system has been developed using linear accelerometers to accurately determine the 3D translational and rotational acceleration of the Hybrid III dummy head. Our concept has been to use the conventional triaxial accelerometer in the dummy's head to assess translational acceleration, and three rows of in-line linear accelerometers and a least squares analysis to compute statistical best-fits for the rotational acceleration about three orthogonal axes.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Limiting Impact Force on Abdominal Injury: A Preliminary Study

This report describes a series of experiments using Hexcel(TM) to limit the impact force in lateral abdominal impacts. Two hundred fourteen (214) anesthetized New Zealand White rabbits were impacted at 5 to 15 m/s using a pneumatic impactor. Injury responses from tests with a force-limiting impact interface (94 tests) were compared with the responses from tests with a rigid impact interface (120 tests) having the same level of lateral abdominal compression. The Hexcel had a length of 3 inches, the same diameter as the rigid impactor, and crushed at a constant force (pressure level of 232 kPa (33 psi)) once deformation was initiated. The results of these tests showed that the probability of serious abdominal injury did not change significantly with the Hexcel, even though peak pressures were reduced to as little as one third of their previous values.
Technical Paper

The Viscous Criterion - Bases and Applications of an Injury Severity Index for Soft Tissues

The discovery of the mechanism of impact-induced soft tissue injury has led to our introduction of a Viscous Injury Criterion, which predicts the severity and the time of occurrence of soft tissue injury induced by impact when other criteria have failed. Human tolerance has been defined by the Viscous response, [VC], a time function generated by the instantaneous product of velocity of deformation [V(t)] and amount of compression [C(t)] of the body. [VC]max = 1.0 m/s corresponds experimentally to a 25% chance of sustaining severe thoracic injury (AIS ≥ 4) in a blunt frontal impact. A similar level of risk for critical abdominal injury (AIS ≥ 5) in a blunt frontal impact is [VC]max = 1.2 m/s. However, human tolerance is defined more completely by the probability function of injury risk versus [VC]max. The Viscous response can be evaluated in the Hybrid III anthropomorphic dummy by a straightforward analysis of the chest deflection data.
Technical Paper

Significance of Rate of Onset in Impact Injury Evaluation

The concept of rate of onset as an injury potential index is critically discussed through the analysis of a wide range of noninjurious whole body decelerations and localized impacts. Examination of the physical data shows that extremely high rates of onset are tolerable without injury and that these levels of rate of onset are reciprocally dependent on the pulse rise time. The physical data is next discussed with reference to existing acceleration injury criteria, specifically the GSI and HIC indices. This work substantiates the conclusions that a single rate of onset tolerance level is not warranted and that rate of onset is not a proven injury potential index.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the SID Dummy and TTI Injury Criterion for Side impact Testing

The NHTSA's side impact dummy (SID) was evaluated against what is known of the side impact response of the human chest and responses were compared with data on Hybrid III frontal and EURQSID side impact characteristics. The SID dummy lacks a human-like chest deflection response which is crucial to the injury indicating capability of a dummy, it has a 9.8 kg near-side rib mass which is approximately an order of magnitude greater than that of the human, and it develops impact forces that are nearly three times higher than the recommended human chest response. It possesses characteristics primarily of an inertial device. The thoracic trauma index (TTI) was evaluated as an indicator of side impact injury risk, and design trends and optimized padding characteristics identified with the SID and TTI were compared with those from the Hybrid III dummy and viscous or compression injury criteria.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the Benefit of Energy-Absorbing Material in Side impact Protection: Part I

This paper presents a methodology to link reductions in biomechanical responses due to force-limiting material to projections of injury mitigation in real-world side impact crashes, and to use this approach to evaluate the potential injury reducing benefit for the chest and abdomen of constant crush force material in the side door and armrest. Using a simulation of the human impact response, a range in crush force was determined which effectively reduced a peak biomechanical response from that obtained with a rigid impact. The range in constant crush force depended on the velocity of impact. The higher the velocity of impact, the higher the level of crush force to achieve a reduction in the peak response. NCSS field accident data for car-to-car side impacts provided information on the occupant exposure and injury as a function of the change in velocity (ΔV) of the struck vehicle.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the Benefit of Energy-Absorbing Material in Side Impact Protection: Part II

This paper refines the methodology presented in the companion paper linking reductions in biomechanical responses due to force-limiting material to projections of injury-mitigation in real-world side impact crashes. The revised approach was used to evaluate the potential injury reducing benefit for the chest and abdomen with either constant crush force or constant stiffness, crushable material in the side door and armrest. Using a simulation of the human impact response, a range in crush force or stiffness was determined which reduced the viscous response from that obtained with a rigid impact. NCSS field accident data for car-to-car side impacts provided information on the occupant exposure and injury as a function of the change in velocity (ΔV) of the struck vehicle. Since the velocity of the side door at contact with the occupant's chest is similar to the ΔV of the struck vehicle, the chest impact velocity in the simulation was assumed equal to the observed ΔV in the NCSS data.
Technical Paper

Stiff versus Yielding Seats: Analysis of Matched Rear Impact Tests

The objective of this study was to analyze available anthropomorphic test device (ATD) responses from KARCO rear impact tests and to evaluate an injury predictive model based on crash severity and occupant weight presented by Saczalski et al. (2004). The KARCO tests were carried out with various seat designs. Biomechanical responses were evaluated in speed ranges of 7-12, 13-17, 18-23 and 24-34 mph. For this analysis, all tests with matching yielding and stiff seats and matching occupant size and weight were analyzed for cases without 2nd row occupant interaction. Overall, the test data shows that conventional yielding seats provide a high degree of safety for small to large adult occupants in rear crashes; this data is also consistent with good field performance as found in NASS-CDS. Saczalski et al.'s (2004) predictive model of occupant injury is not correct as there are numerous cases from NASS-CDS that show no or minor injury in the region where serious injury is predicted.
Technical Paper

Research Issues on the Biomechanics of Seating Discomfort: An Overview with Focus on Issues of the Elderly and Low-Back Pain

This paper reviews issues relating to seats including design for comfort and restraint, mechanics of discomfort and irritability, older occupants, and low-back pain. It focuses on the interface between seating technology and occupant comfort, and involves a technical review of medical-engineering information. The dramatic increase in the number of features currently available on seats outreaches the technical understanding of occupant accommodation and ride comfort. Thus, the current understanding of seat design parameters may not adequately encompass occupant needs. The review has found many pathways between seating features and riding comfort, each of which requires more specific information on the biomechanics of discomfort by pressure distribution, body support, ride vibration, material breathability, and other factors. These inputs stimulate mechanisms of discomfort that need to be quantified in terms of mechanical requirements for seat design and function.