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Technical Paper

The Interaction of Air Bags with Upper Extremities

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

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

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

Small Female Head and Neck Interaction With a Deploying Side Air Bag

This paper presents dummy and cadaver experiments designed to investigate the injury potential of an out-of-position small female head and neck from a deploying side air bag. Three seat mounted, thoracic type, side air bags were used that varied in inflator aggressivity. The ATB/CVS multi body program was used to identify the worst case loading position for the small female head and neck. Once the initial position was identified, a total of three Hybrid III 5th percentile dummy and three small female cadaver tests (51 ± 9 years, 64 ± 8 kg, 159 ± 10 cm) were performed. Instrumentation for the dummy included upper and lower neck load cells, while both the dummy and the cadavers had accelerometers and angular rate sensors fixed to the head and T1 vertebrae in order to provide head and neck kinematic data. Head center of gravity accelerations for the dummy ranged from 71 g's to 154 g's, and were greater than cadaver values, which ranged from 68 g's to 103 g's.
Technical Paper

Multi-Body Model of Upper Extremity Interaction with Deploying Airbag

Three-dimensional simulation models of a driver's right upper extremity interacting with a deploying airbag have been set up and run with the Articulated Total Body program. The goal of this study is to examine the significance of various occupant and airbag parameters during deployment, such as grip strength, upper extremity position, shoulder compliance, flap position, flap aggressivity, and deployment speed. Given a range of 250 N to 650 N, the grip strength did not affect the resultant loads. Also, the contact force and torque at the e.g. of the forearm are not sensitive to shoulder joint compliance. The flap aggressivity and the position of the airbag module relative to the upper extremity are most important in affecting the interaction. This study is used to justify cadaveric experiments involving disarticulated upper extremities.