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Technical Paper

The Interaction of Air Bags with Upper Extremities

1997-11-12
973324
Recently there has been a greater awareness of the increased risk of certain injuries associated with air bag deployment, especially the risks to small occupants, often women. These injuries include serious eye and upper extremity injuries and even fatalities. This study investigates the interaction of a deploying air bag with cadaveric upper extremities in a typical driving posture; testing concentrates on female occupants. The goals of this investigation are to determine the risk of upper extremity injury caused by primary contact with a deploying air bag and to elucidate the mechanisms of these upper extremity injuries. Five air bags were used that are representative of a wide range of air bag ‘aggressivities’ in the current automobile fleet. This air bag ‘aggressivity’ was quantified using the response of a dummy forearm under air bag deployment.
Technical Paper

Design and Development of a Thor-Based Small Female Crash Test Dummy

2003-10-27
2003-22-0024
This paper describes the design and development of a small female crash test dummy, results of biofidelity tests, and preliminary results from full-scale, 3-point belt and airbag type sled tests. The small female THOR was designed using the anthropometric data developed by Robbins for the 5th percentile female and biomechanical requirements derived from scaling the responses of the 50th percentile male. While many of the mechanical components of the NHTSA THOR 50th percentile male dummy were scaled according to the appropriate anthropometric data, a number of improved design features have been introduced in the new female THOR. These include; improved neck design, new designs for the head and neck skins: and new designs for the upper and lower abdomen. The lower leg, ankle and foot, known as THOR-FLx, were developed in an earlier effort and have been included as a standard part of the new female dummy.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Vehicle Structural Integrity and Occupant Injury Potential in Full-frontal and Offset-frontal Crash Tests

2000-03-06
2000-01-0879
The frontal crash standard in the USA specifies that the full front of a vehicle impact a rigid barrier. Subsequently, the European Union developed a frontal crash standard that requires 40 percent of the front of a vehicle to impact a deformable barrier. The present study conducted paired crashes of vehicles using the full-frontal barrier procedure and the 40 percent offset deformable barrier procedure. In part, the study was to examine the feasibility of adding an offset test procedure to the frontal crash standard in the USA. Frontal-offset and full-frontal testing was conducted using both the mid-size (50th percentile male Hybrid III) and the small stature (5th percentile female Hybrid III) dummies. Five vehicle models were used in the testing: Dodge Neon, Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Venture and Ford Contour. In the crash tests, all dummies were restrained with the available safety belt systems and frontal air bags.
Technical Paper

Air bag crash investigations

2001-06-04
2001-06-0009
The performance of air bags, as an occupant protection system, is of high interest to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA or Agency). Since 1972, the NHTSA has operated a Special Crash Investigations (SCI) program which provides in-depth crash investigation data on new and rapidly changing occupant protection technologies in real-world crashes. The Agency uses these in-depth data to evaluate vehicle safety systems and form a basis for rulemaking actions. The data are also used by the automotive industry and other organizations to evaluate the performance of motor vehicle occupant protection systems such as air bags. This paper presents information from NHTSA's SCI program concerning crash investigations on air-bag-equipped vehicles. The paper focus is on data collection and some general findings in air bag crash investigations including: air-bag-related fatal and life-threatening injuries; side air bags; redesigned air bags and advanced air bags.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of injury risk from side impact air bags

2001-06-04
2001-06-0091
Several thoracic and head protection side impact air bag systems (SAB) are emerging in the U.S. market and are projected to become prevalent in the fleet. These systems appear to offer superior protection in side crashes. However, concerns have been raised as to their potential for causing injury to out-of-position (OOP) occupants. This paper describes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) program for evaluation of the SAB systems for OOP occupants and provides a status report on the current research. The industry's Side Airbag Out-of- Position Injury Technical Working Group (TWG) recommended procedures for 3-year-old and 6-year-old occupants are evaluated. Additional test procedures are described to augment the TWG procedures for these occupants and 12-month- old infants.
Technical Paper

PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF DUAL STAGE PASSENGER AIR BAG SYSTEMS

2001-06-04
2001-06-0190
A research program was initiated to evaluate the performance of prototype dual stage passenger air bags in terms of both restraint system performance and deployment aggressivity for different size occupants. Variations in inflator partitions, vent hole diameter sizes, and deployment timing were examined. High speed unbelted sled tests were conducted with both 50th percentile male and 5th percentile female Hybrid III adult dummies at 48 kmph; and belted sled tests were conducted at 56 kmph. Low risk deployment tests with child dummies were conducted to evaluate air bag aggressivity. Overall, it was concluded that the dual stage air bag systems under evaluation had improved performance over the baseline single stage systems in terms of providing high speed protection while reducing aggressivity to out-of-position occupants; however, some dual stage systems may require additional occupant detection methodologies to suppress or control inflation.
Technical Paper

Deployment of Air Bags into the Thorax of an Out-of-Position Dummy

1999-03-01
1999-01-0764
The air bag has proven effective in reducing fatalities in frontal crashes with estimated decreases ranging from 11% to 30% depending on the size of the vehicle [IIHS-1995, Kahane-1996]. At the same time, some air bag designs have caused fatalities when front-seat passengers have been in close proximity to the deploying air bag [Kleinberger-1997]. The objective of this study was to develop an accurate and repeatable out-of-position test fixture to study the deployment of air bags into out-of-position occupants. Tests were performed with a 5th percentile female Hybrid III dummy and studied air bag loading on the thorax using draft ISO-2 out-of-position (OOP) occupant positioning. Two different interpretations of the ISO-2 positioning were used in this study. The first, termed Nominal ISO-2, placed the chin on the steering wheel with the spine parallel to the steering wheel.
Technical Paper

Air Bags for Small Cars

1985-04-01
851200
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has conducted a number of research projects which examined the need and concern for occupants of small cars. These projects include the demonstration of air bags in small cars at crash severities equal to or greater than the 30 mph test required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 208. The results from these projects showing the protective capability of the air bag are reviewed. Factors influencing air bag performance such as amount of vehicle crush and the time available for air bag inflation are examined. Existing technology for providing air bag protection to occupants in small cars is discussed. The issue concerning the safety of out-of-position child passengers is addressed including a number of technical options for dealing with the out-of-position occupant.
Technical Paper

Occupant Injury Patterns in Crashes with Airbag Equipped Government Sponsored Cars

1987-11-01
872216
In 1983, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated two air hag vehicle fleet programs. The objective was to demonstrate that both original equipment and retrofit air bag systems operate in vehicles as intended. As of July 1, 1987, the two fleets together have accumulated over 200 million miles. Data are presented for 112 crashes involving air bag deployment in these government sponsored fleet vehicles in service between 1984 and July 1, 1987. Of the 112 drivers involved in the crashes, 103 sustained either no injury or only minor (AIS 1)[1]1 injuries. Of the nine remaining cases, six were AIS 2 and three AIS 3. To date, the limited data indicate that the air bag deployed as expected in all frontal crashes severe enough to require occupant restraint beyond that provided by the vehicle interior. Additionally, in collisions in which the air bag did not deploy, the crashes were of such low severity that no actuation was expected and none took place.
Technical Paper

RAID - An Investigative Tool to Study Air Bag/Upper Extremity Interactions

1997-02-24
970399
A study of frontal collisions using the NASS data base showed that there were four times as many arm injuries to belt restrained drivers who had an air bag deploy than for the drivers who were simply belted. By far, the distal forearm/hand was the most commonly injured region. Hard copy review identified two modes of arm injury related to the deploying air bag: 1) The arm is directly contacted by the air bag module and/or flap cover, and 2) The arm is flung away and contacts an interior car surface. Based on the field studies, a mechanical device called the Research Arm Injury Device (RAID) was fabricated to assess the aggressivity of air bags from different manufacturers. Results from static air bag deployment tests with the RAID suggested that the RAID was able to clearly distinguish between the aggressive and non-aggressive air bags. Maximum moments ranging between 100 Nm and 650 Nm, and hand fling velocity ranging between 30 and 120 km/h were measured on the RAID in these tests.
Technical Paper

Thoracic Trauma Assessment Formulations for Restrained Drivers in Simulated Frontal Impacts

1994-11-01
942206
Sixty-three simulated frontal impacts using cadaveric specimens were performed to examine and quantify the performance of various contemporary automotive restraint systems. Test specimens were instrumented with accelerometers and chest bands to characterize their mechanical responses during the impact. The resulting thoracic injury severity was determined using detailed autopsy and was classified using the Abbreviated Injury Scale. The ability of various mechanical parameters and combinations of parameters to assess the observed injury severities was examined and resulted in the observation that belt restraint systems generally had higher injury rates than air bag restraint systems for the same level of mechanical responses. To provide better injury evaluations from observed mechanical parameters without prior knowledge of what restraint system was being used, a dichotomous process was developed.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of a Proposed Hybrid III Hip Modification

1995-11-01
952730
A proposed modification to the Hybrid III 50th percentile male dummy upper femur appears to reduce the chest response problems resulting from femur-pelvis interaction in test exposures more severe than Standard No. 208 testing. When compared to overall repeatability of tests, the modification did not change other dummy response measurements appreciably. The femur-pelvis interaction problem, referred to as “hip lock”, was thought to occur in certain vehicles when the femurs of a passenger side dummy impacting only an air bag bottomed out against the pelvis structure. If metal-to-metal contact occurred, excessive load could be transferred to the chest, leading to elevated chest responses. The most pertinent signs of hip lock occurring appear to be a large, sharply pointed z chest acceleration, and a distinct positive component of the lumbar spine z force following the main negative component.
Technical Paper

On the Synergism of the Driver Air Bag and the 3-Point Belt in Frontal Collisions

1995-11-01
952700
The number of passenger vehicles with combined 3-point belt/driver air bag restraint systems is steadily increasing. To investigate the effectiveness of this restraint combination, 48 kph frontal collisions were performed with human cadavers. Each cadaver's thorax was instrumented with a 12-accelerometer array and two chest bands. The results show, that by using a combined standard 3-point belt (6% elongation)/driver air bag, the thoracic injury pattern remained located under the shoulder belt. The same observation was found when belts with 16% elongation were used in combination with the driver air bag. Chest contours derived from the chest bands showed high local compression and deformation of the chest along the shoulder belt path, and suggest the mechanism for the thoracic injuries.
Technical Paper

Hybrid III Dummy Instrumentation and Assessment of Arm Injuries During Air Bag Deployment

1996-11-01
962417
Assessment of potential forearm fracture due to deployment of driver air bags is examined through a series of static air bag deployments with a specially instrumented Hybrid III dummy. The objective of the study was to determine the feasibility of measuring accelerations and bending moments on the Hybrid III dummy forearm as a potential injury index for arm fracture. Study of the National Accident Sampling System data has shown that in isolated circumstances, deployment of an air bag while the driver is making a turn can lead to fractures of the lower arm. To examine this phenomenon, the Hybrid III dummy was instrumented with accelerometers and strain gages to allow measurement of the accelerations and moments on the right arm. The arm was oriented over the steering wheel towards the eleven o'clock position during deployment of the air bag. Accelerations were measured on the arm at the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Moments in two axes were measured at two locations below the elbow.
Technical Paper

Air Bags - Legions of Fable - Consumer Perceptions and Concerns

1998-02-23
980905
This paper discusses the consumer and news media perceptions about air bags that had to be taken into account by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in making rulemaking decisions in 1997. Addressing these perceptions was a major concern as the agency made preparations to allow identifiable groups of people at risk from an air bag deployments to have on-off switches installed in their vehicles.
Technical Paper

Frontal Air Bag Deployment in Side Crashes

1998-02-23
980910
NHTSA conducted seventy-six side impact FMVSS No. 214 compliance tests from 1994 through 1997. The compliance tests are nearly right angle side impacts with low longitudinal components of change of velocity (Δv). Frontal air bag deployments were found to have occurred for 34% of the driver bags and 32% of the front passenger bags in these compliance-tested passenger cars. In 1997, NHTSA began testing passenger cars 'in side impact in the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The NCAP crash tests are conducted at a higher speed than the compliance tests. The cars in the NCAP side impact tests also had low longitudinal components of Δv. Approximately 40% of the twenty-six passenger cars tested in the 1997 Side Impact NCAP had their frontal air bags deploy. Real world crash data were examined to determine if frontal air bags are deploying in right angle side impacts on the roads of the US.
Technical Paper

Improving Occupant Protection Systems in Frontal Crashes

1996-02-01
960665
In the United States, air bags will be required in all passenger cars and light trucks under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. Even after full implementation of driver and passenger air bags as required by FMVSS No. 208, frontal impacts will still account for up to 8,000 fatalities and 120,000 moderate to critical injuries (i.e., injuries of AIS ≥ 2) [1]. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an ongoing research program to address these fatalities and injuries and provide a basis for the possible future upgrade of FMVSS No. 208. This effort includes developing supplementary test procedures for the evaluation of occupant injury in higher severity crashes, developing improved injury criteria including criteria for assessing injuries to additional body regions, and evaluating the injuries associated with occupant size [2, 3 and 4].
Technical Paper

Upper Neck Response of the Belt and Air Bag Restrained 50th Percentile Hybrid III Dummy in the USA's New Car Assessment Program

1998-11-02
983164
Since 1994, the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has compiled upper neck loads for the belt and air bag restrained 50th percentile male Hybrid III dummy. Over five years from 1994 to 1998, in frontal crash tests, NCAP collected upper neck data for 118 passenger cars and seventy-eight light trucks and vans. This paper examines these data and attempts to assess the potential for neck injury based on injury criteria included in FMVSS No. 208 (for the optional sled test). The paper examines the extent of serious neck injury in real world crashes as reported in the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS). The results suggest that serious neck injuries do occur at higher speeds for crashes involving occupants restrained by belts in passenger cars.
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