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Technical Paper


Light truck vehicles (LTVs), sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and vans collectively make up a growing segment of the total automotive fleet sales, particularly in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified this trend and has increased the extent of its research in vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility. Additionally, vehicle compatibility concerns have also been emphasized by International Harmonization Research Activity (IHRA). Accordingly, with intention to further enhance road safety, research in the area of crash compatibility between cars and LTVs in different crash configurations is of significant importance. This paper describes a part of ongoing research at Ford Motor Company to further investigate the effect of compatibility in SUV/LTV-to-Car crashes.
Technical Paper

Macroscopic Constitutive Behaviors of Aluminum Honeycombs Under Dynamic Inclined Loads

Macroscopic constitutive behaviors of aluminum 5052-H38 honeycombs under dynamic inclined loads with respect to the out-of-plane direction are investigated by experiments. The results of the dynamic crush tests indicate that as the impact velocity increases, the normal crush strength increases and the shear strength remains nearly the same for a fixed ratio of the normal to shear displacement rate. The experimental results suggest that the macroscopic yield surface of the honeycomb specimens as a function of the impact velocity under the given dynamic inclined loads is not governed by the isotropic hardening rule of the classical plasticity theory. As the impact velocity increases, the shape of the macroscopic yield surface changes, or more specifically, the curvature of the yield surface increases near the pure compression state.
Technical Paper


The relationship between designing for both rigid fixed barrier (RFB) and vehicle-to-vehicle tests is a topical area of research. Specifically, vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility has been a topic of keen interest to many researchers, and the interplay between the two aspects of design is presently addressed. In this paper, the studied vehicles for potential vehicle-to-vehicle impacts included: sport utility vehicles (SUVs), Pickups (PUs), and passenger cars. The SUV/PU-to-Car frontal impact tests were compared to those obtained from vehicle-to-rigid fixed barrier frontal impacts. Acceleration pulses at the B-pillar/rocker as well as dash and cabin intrusions were monitored and compared. Additionally, the energy distributions in SUV/PU-to-Car crash tests were compared to those of single vehicle-to-RFB tests. It was concluded from the analysis that vehicle weight and front-end stiffness were not always the overriding factors dictating performance.
Technical Paper

Theoretical Evaluation of the Requirements of the 1999 Advanced Airbag SNPRM – Part One: Design Space Constraint Analysis

In the 1999 Supplemental Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) for Advanced Airbags, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sought comments on the maximum speed at which the high-speed, unbelted occupant test suite will be conducted, i.e., 48 kph vs. 40 kph. To help address this question, an analysis of constraints was performed via extensive mathematical modeling of a theoretical restraint system. First, math models (correlated with several existing physical tests) were used to predict the occupant responses associated with 336 different theoretical dual-stage driver airbag designs subjected to six specific Regulated and non-Regulated tests.
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

Thoracic Response of Belted PMHS, the Hybrid III, and the THOR-NT Mid-Sized Male Surrogates in Low-Speed, Frontal Crashes

Injury to the thorax is the predominant cause of fatalities in crash-involved automobile occupants over the age of 65, and many elderly-occupant automobile fatalities occur in crashes below compliance or consumer information test speeds. As the average age of the automotive population increases, thoracic injury prevention in lower severity crashes will play an increasingly important role in automobile safety. This study presents the results of a series of sled tests to investigate the thoracic deformation, kinematic, and injury responses of belted post-mortem human surrogates (PMHS, average age 44 years) and frontal anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) in low-speed frontal crashes. Nine 29 km/h (three PMHS, three Hybrid III 50th% male ATD, three THOR-NT ATD) and three 38 km/h (one PMHS, two Hybrid III) frontal sled tests were performed to simulate an occupant seated in the right front passenger seat of a mid-sized sedan restrained with a standard (not force-limited) 3-point seatbelt.
Technical Paper

Development of Numerical Models for Injury Biomechanics Research: A Review of 50 Years of Publications in the Stapp Car Crash Conference

Numerical analyses frequently accompany experimental investigations that study injury biomechanics and improvements in automotive safety. Limited by computational speed, earlier mathematical models tended to simplify the system under study so that a set of differential equations could be written and solved. Advances in computing technology and analysis software have enabled the development of many sophisticated models that have the potential to provide a more comprehensive understanding of human impact response, injury mechanisms, and tolerance. In this article, 50 years of publications on numerical modeling published in the Stapp Car Crash Conference Proceedings and Journal were reviewed. These models were based on: (a) author-developed equations and software, (b) public and commercially available programs to solve rigid body dynamic models (such as MVMA2D, CAL3D or ATB, and MADYMO), and (c) finite element models.
Technical Paper

Lower-Body Injury Rates in Full-Engagement Frontal Impacts: Field Data and Logistic Models

Lower-body injury data for adults in real-world frontal impacts in the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) were collected, analyzed, and modeled via statistical methods. Two levels of lower-body injury were considered: maximum serious-to-fatal (MAIS3+) and moderate-to-fatal (MAIS2+). In the analysis, we observed that a substantial fraction of all lower-body injured occupants had no recorded floor/toe pan intrusion: 47% of all MAIS3+ injured occupants; 69% of all MAIS2+ injured occupants. In the statistical modeling, we developed binary logistic regression models to fit the MAIS3+ and MAIS 2+ injury data. The statistically significant variables (p ≤ 0.05) were the speed change of the crash, postcrash floor/toe pan intrusion, level of restraint, occupant age, and occupant gender.
Technical Paper

Derivation and Evaluation of a Provisional, Age-Dependent, AIS3+ Thoracic Risk Curve for Belted Adults in Frontal Impacts

An age-dependent, serious-to-fatal (AIS3+), thoracic risk curve was derived and evaluated for frontal impacts. The study consisted of four parts. In Part 1, two datasets of post mortem human subjects (PMHS) were generated for statistical and sensitivity analyses. In Part 2, logistic regression analyses were conducted. For each dataset, two statistical methods were applied: (1) a conventional maximum likelihood method, and (2) a modified maximum likelihood method. Therefore, four statistical models were derived — one for each dataset/statistical method combination. For all of the resulting statistical models (risk curves), the linear combination of maximum normalized sternum deflection and age of the PMHS was identified as a feasible predictor of AIS3+ thoracic injury probability. In Part 3, the PMHS-based risk curves were transformed into test-dummy-based risk curves. In Part 4, validation studies were conducted for each risk curve.
Technical Paper

A Theoretical Math Model for Projecting Ais3+ Thoracic Injury for Belted Occupants in Frontal Impacts

A theoretical math model was created to assess the net effect of aging populations versus evolving system designs from the standpoint of thoracic injury potential. The model was used to project the next twenty-five years of thoracic injuries in Canada. The choice of Canada was topical because rulemaking for CMVSS 208 has been proposed recently. The study was limited to properly-belted, front-outboard, adult occupants in 11-1 o'clock frontal crashes. Moreover, only AIS3+thoracic injury potential was considered. The research consisted of four steps. First, sub-models were developed and integrated. The sub-models were made for numerous real-world effects including population growth, crash involvement, fleet penetration of various systems (via system introduction, vehicle production, and vehicle attrition), and attendant injury risk estimation. Second, existing NASS data were used to estimate the number of AIS3+ chest-injured drivers in Canada in 2001.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Analysis of Knee Impact in Frontal Collisions through Finite Element Simulations with a Full Human Body Model

This study applies a detailed finite element model of the human body to simulate occupant knee impacts experienced in vehicular frontal crashes. The human body model includes detailed anatomical features of the head, neck, chest, thoracic and lumbar spine, abdomen, and lower and upper extremities. The material properties used in the model for each anatomic part of the human body were obtained from test data reported in the literature. The total human body model used in the current study has been previously validated in frontal and side impacts. Several cadaver knee impact tests representing occupants in a frontal impact condition were simulated using the previously validated human body model. Model impact responses in terms of force-time and acceleration-time histories were compared with test results. In addition, stress distributions of the patella, femur, and pelvis were reported for the simulated test conditions.
Technical Paper

Interactions of Out-of-Position Small-Female Surrogates with a Depowered Driver Airbag

The objectives of this study were to examine the response, repeatability, and injury predictive ability of the Hybrid III small-female dummy to static out-of-position (OOP) deployments using a depowered driver-side airbag. Five dummy tests were conducted in two OOP configurations by two different laboratories. The OOP configurations were nose-on-rim (NOR) and chest-on-bag (COB). Four cadaver tests were conducted using unembalmed small-female cadavers and the same airbags used in the dummy tests under similar OOP conditions. One cadaver test was designed to increase airbag loading of the face and neck (a forehead-on-rim, or FOR test). Comparison between the dummy tests of Lab 1 and of Lab 2 indicated the test conditions and results were repeatable. In the cadaver tests no skull fractures or neck injuries occurred. However, all four cadavers had multiple rib fractures.
Technical Paper

Impact Response and Biomechanical Analysis of the Knee-Thigh-Hip Complex in Frontal Impacts with a Full Human Body Finite Element Model

Changes in vehicle safety design technology and the increasing use of seat-belts and airbag restraint systems have gradually changed the relative proportion of lower extremity injuries. These changes in real world injuries have renewed interest and the need of further investigation into occupant injury mechanisms and biomechanical impact responses of the knee-thigh-hip complex during frontal impacts. This study uses a detailed finite element model of the human body to simulate occupant knee impacts experienced in frontal crashes. The human body model includes detailed anatomical features of the head, neck, shoulder, chest, thoracic and lumbar spine, abdomen, pelvis, and lower and upper extremities. The material properties used in the model for each anatomic part of the human body were obtained from test data reported in the literature. The human body model used in the current study has been previously validated in frontal and side impacts.
Technical Paper


This paper describes a CAE-based methodology used to identity major factors influencing vehicle structural performance and crash energy management in full-frontal vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. Finite element models of an “average” SUV and an “average” full-size passenger vehicle were used in this study. The determining factors of vehicle compatibility in multi-vehicle collisions are relative mass, relative stiffness and relative geometry. Four parameters of the average SUV, mass, fore rail length, fore rail thickness, and fore rail height were selected as design variables. A uniformly spaced Optimal Latin Hypercube sampling technique was employed to probe the design space of these variables using thirteen simulation runs. Dash intrusions in the passenger vehicle and the absorbed collision energy in both vehicles were selected as response variables.
Technical Paper

Correlation of Driver Inflator Predictor Variables with the Viscous Criterion for the Mid-Sized Male, Instrumented Test Dummy in the Chest-on-Module Condition

A new inflator specification, the “inflator thrust variable,” was developed to better explain measured mid-sized male, instrumented test dummy responses in the chest-on-module test condition. Specifically, controlled laboratory experiments were conducted with non-production, driver airbag modules with inflators of various outputs and gas constituents in an effort to assess their effects on a pertinent occupant response. Regression analyses showed that the inflator thrust variable is a better predictor of the observed variation in peak viscous criterion responses than either peak tank pressure or the related pressure rise rate when inflators of differing gas composition were compared.
Technical Paper

Age-Specific Injury Risk Curves for Distributed, Anterior Thoracic Loading of Various Sizes of Adults Based on Sternal Deflections

Injury Risk Curves are developed from cadaver data for sternal deflections produced by anterior, distributed chest loads for a 25, 45, 55, 65 and 75 year-old Small Female, Mid-Size Male and Large Male based on the variations of bone strengths with age. These curves show that the risk of AIS ≥ 3 thoracic injury increases with the age of the person. This observation is consistent with NASS data of frontal accidents which shows that older unbelted drivers have a higher risk of AIS ≥ 3 chest injury than younger drivers.
Technical Paper

Prediction and Analysis of Human Thoracic Impact Responses and Injuries in Cadaver Impacts Using a Full Human Body Finite Element Model

Human thoracic dynamic responses and injuries associated with frontal impact, side impact, and belt loading were investigated and predicted using a complete human body finite element model for an average adult male. The human body model was developed to study the impact biomechanics of a vehicular occupant. Its geometry was based on the Visible Human Project (National Library of Medicine) and the topographies from human body anatomical texts. The data was then scaled to an average adult male according to available biomechanical data from the literature. The model includes details of the head, neck, ribcage, abdomen, thoracic and lumbar spine, internal organs of the chest and abdomen, pelvis, and the upper and lower extremities. The present study is focused on the dynamic response and injuries of the thorax.
Technical Paper

Side Impact Regulatory Trends, Crash Environment and Injury Risk in the USA

Light duty vehicles in the US are designed to meet and exceed regulatory standards, self-imposed industry agreements and safety rating tests conducted by NHTSA and IIHS. The evolution of side impact regulation in the US from 1973 to 2015 is discussed in the paper along with two key industry agreements in 2003 affecting design of restraint systems and structures for side impact protection. A combination of all the above influences shows that vehicles in the US are being designed to more demanding and comprehensive requirements than in any other region of the world. The crash environment in the US related to side impacts was defined based on data in the nationally representative crash database NASS. Crash environment factors, including the distribution of cars, light trucks and vans (LTV’s), and medium-to-heavy vehicles (MHV’s) in the fleet, and the frequency of their interactions with one another in side impacts, were considered.
Technical Paper

Finite Element Modeling of Structural Foam and Head Impact Interaction with Vehicle Upper Interior

This paper first describes an experimental analytical approach and numerical procedures used to establish crushable foam material constants needed in finite element (FE) analysis. Dynamic compressive stress-strain data of a 2 pcf Dytherm foam, provided by ARCO Chemical, is used to determine the material parameters which appears in the foam constitutive equation. A finite element model simulating a 15 mph spherical headform impact with a foam sample 6 in. x 6 in. x 1 in. fixed against a rigid plate is developed. The predicted force-deflection characteristic is validated against test data to characterize the initial loading and final unloading stiffnesses of the foam during impact. Finite element modeling and analysis of 15 mph spherical headform impact with component sections of upper interior structures of a passenger compartment is presented.
Technical Paper

Comparative Evaluation of Various Frontal Impact Test Procedures

The result of two series of crash tests, 5 tests each series, are presented in this paper. Two car designs were subjected to various frontal impacts - full frontal, car-to-car 60% offset, 50% offset, and 50% offset with deformable barrier - at 56 km/h. Two tests were conducted at 60 km/h against the ECE deformable barrier with 40% overlap. Structural and occupant responses are compared between the various test conditions.