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Technical Paper

Sled System Requirements for the Analysis of Side Impact Thoracic Injury Criteria and Occupant Protection

This paper discusses struck-side occupant thoracic response to side-impact loading and the requirements of a sled system capable of reproducing the relevant motions of a laterally impacted vehicle. A simplified viscoelastic representation of a thorax is used to evaluate the effect of the door velocity-time profile on injury criteria and on the internal stress state of the thorax. Simulations using a prescribed door velocity-time profile (punch impact) are contrasted against simulations using a constant-velocity impact (Heidelberg-type impact). It is found that the stress distribution and magnitude within the thorax, in addition to the maximum thorax compression and viscous response, depend not only on the door-occupant closing velocity, but also on the shape of the door velocity-time profile throughout the time of contact with the occupant. A sled system capable of properly reproducing side-impact door and seat motion is described.
Technical Paper

Parametric study of side impact thoracic injury criteria using the MADYMO human body model

This paper presents a computational study of the effects of three parameters on the resulting thoracic injury criteria in side impacts. The parameters evaluated are a) door velocity-time (V-t) profile, b) door interior padding modulus, and c) initial door-to-occupant offset. Regardless of pad modulus, initial offset, or the criterion used to assess injury, higher peak door velocity is shown to correspond with more severe injury. Injury outcome is not, however, found to be sensitive to the door velocity at the time of first occupant contact. A larger initial offset generally is found to result in lower injury, even when the larger offset results in a higher door velocity at occupant contact, because the increased offset results in contact later in the door V-t profile - closer to the point at which the door velocity begins to decrease. Cases of contradictory injury criteria trends are identified, particularly in response to changes in the pad modulus.
Technical Paper

Displacement Measurements in the Hybrid III Chest

This paper presents an analysis of the displacement measurement of the Hybrid III 50th percentile male dummy chest in quasistatic and dynamic loading environments. In this dummy, the sternal chest deformation is typically characterized using a sliding chest potentiometer, originally designed to measure inward deflection in the central axis of the dummy chest. Loading environments that include other modes of deformation, such as lateral translations or rotations, can create a displacement vector that is not aligned with this sensitive axis. To demonstrate this, the dummy chest was loaded quasistatically and dynamically in a series of tests. A string potentiometer array, with the capability to monitor additional deflection modes, was used to supplement the measurement of the chest slider.
Technical Paper


The major car and crash related risk factors for Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) 1-3 long-term neck injuries in rear-end crashes are the shape of the crash pulse, the seat-force characteristics and the head restraint position. However, the specific roles of these factors are not yet fully understood, which makes it difficult to find adequate countermeasures and to design protective car seats. In order to study these issues, a mathematical MADYMO model of the first version of the Biofidelic Rear Impact Dummy (BioRID I) has previously been developed. In addition, a neck injury criterion, NICmax, has been proposed and evaluated by means of dummy, human and rear-end impact simulations. In this paper the MADYMO BioRID I and four car seats ranked differently according to a disability ranking list are used to study the influence of crash pulse, seat-force characteristics, and head restraint position on the NICmax in rear-end crashes.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Response of the Pediatric Abdomen, Part 1: Development of an Experimental Model and Quantification of Structural Response to Dynamic Belt Loading

The abdomen is the second most commonly injured region in children using adult seat belts, but engineers are limited in their efforts to design systems that mitigate these injuries since no current pediatric dummy has the capability to quantify injury risk from loading to the abdomen. This paper develops a porcine (sus scrofa domestica) model of the 6-year-old human's abdomen, and then defines the biomechanical response of this abdominal model. First, a detailed abdominal necropsy study was undertaken, which involved collecting a series of anthropometric measurements and organ masses on 25 swine, ranging in age from 14 to 429 days (4-101 kg mass). These were then compared to the corresponding human quantities to identify the best porcine representation of a 6-year-old human's abdomen. This was determined to be a pig of age 77 days, and whole-body mass of 21.4 kg.
Technical Paper

A Comparison Study of Car-to-Pedestrian and Car-to-E-Bike Accidents: Data Source: The China In-Depth Accident Study (CIDAS)

The aim of the study was to investigate the difference between car-to-e-bikes and car-to-pedestrian accidents. The China In-depth Accident Study (CIDAS) database was searched from 2011 to 2013 for pedestrians and e-bikes struck by car, van and SUV fronts, which resulted in 104 pedestrian and 85 e-bike cases where information was sufficient for in-depth analysis. Reconstruction by PC-Crash was performed for all of the sampled cases. Pre-crash parameters were calculated by a MATLAB code. Focus was on prototypical accident scenarios and causes; speed as well as possible prevention countermeasures. It has been shown that traffic light violations, road priority violations, and unsure safety (these situations included misjudgments, unpreparedness, proximity to other road users, inappropriate speeds, etc.…) are the main causes in both the VRU groups. Distinctions were found for aspects of car collision speed, accident scenario, distribution of head contact points and so on.
Technical Paper

Assessment of a Three-Point Restraint System with a Pre-tensioned Lap Belt and an Inflatable, Force-Limited Shoulder Belt

This study investigates the performance of a 3-point restraint system incorporating an inflatable shoulder belt with a nominal 2.5-kN load limiter and a non-inflatable lap belt with a pretensioner (the “Airbelt”). Frontal impacts with PMHS in a rear seat environment are presented and the Airbelt system is contrasted with an earlier 3-point system with inflatable lap and shoulder belts but no load-limiter or pretensioners, which was evaluated with human volunteers in the 1970s but not fully reported in the open literature (the “Inflataband”). Key differences between the systems include downward pelvic motion and torso recline with the Inflataband, while the pelvis moved almost horizontally and the torso pitched forward with the Airbelt. One result of these kinematic differences was an overall more biomechanically favorable restraint loading but greater maximum forward head excursion with the Airbelt.
Technical Paper

Saving Lives with V2X versus On-Board Sensing Systems -Which will be More Effective?: Technology Leadership Brief

Infrastructure systems such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) communication can theoretically prevent nearly all accidents by gathering the speed, locations, and travel directions of traffic participants, and intervening to control vehicle motion as required to help prevent collisions. However, during the phase-in of the communication systems, there will be many vehicles and many roads that do not have the communication systems in place, and therefore the system will not be effective in those cases. This lack of availability is likely the main disadvantage. On-board sensing (autonomous) systems such as cameras and radar sensors may not detect all potential hazards (e.g. due to weather, or hidden hazards), but they are effective in many situations and can help prevent crashes without depending on communication with infrastructure or other vehicles.
Technical Paper

Influence of Impact Speed on Head and Brain Injury Outcome in Vulnerable Road User Impacts to the Car Hood

EuroNCAP and regulations in Europe and Japan evaluate the pedestrian protection performance of cars. The test methods are similar and they all have requirements for the passive protection of the hood area at a pedestrian to car impact speed of 40 km/h. In Europe, a proposal for a second phase of the regulation mandates a brake-assist system along with passive requirements. The system assists the driver in optimizing the braking performance during panic braking, resulting in activation only when the driver brakes sufficiently. In a European study this was estimated to occur in about 50% of pedestrian accidents. A future system for brake assistance will likely include automatic braking, in response to a pre-crash sensor, to avoid or mitigate injuries of vulnerable road users. An important question is whether these systems will provide sufficient protection, or if a parallel, passive pedestrian protection system will be necessary.
Technical Paper

Blood Flow and Fluid-Structure Interactions in the Human Aorta During Traumatic Rupture Conditions

Traumatic aortic rupture (TAR) accounts for a significant mortality in automobile crashes. A numerical method by means of a mesh-based code coupling is employed to elucidate the injury mechanism of TAR. The aorta is modeled as a single-layered thick wall composed of two families of collagen fibers using an anisotropic strain energy function with consideration of viscoelasticity. A set of constitutive parameters is identified from experimental data of the human aorta, providing strict local convexity. An in vitro aorta model reconstructed from the Visible Human dataset is applied to the pulsatile blood flow to establish the references of mechanical quantities for physiological conditions. A series of simulations is performed using the parameterized impact pulses obtained from frontal sled tests.
Technical Paper

Rear Seat Occupant Safety: An Investigation of a Progressive Force-Limiting, Pretensioning 3-Point Belt System Using Adult PMHS in Frontal Sled Tests

Rear seat adult occupant protection is receiving increased attention from the automotive safety community. Recent anthropomorphic test device (ATD) studies have suggested that it may be possible to improve kinematics and reduce injuries to rear seat occupants in frontal collisions by incorporating shoulder-belt force-limiting and pretensioning (FL+PT) technologies into rear seat 3-point belt restraints. This study seeks to further investigate the feasibility and potential kinematic benefits of a FL+PT rear seat, 3-point belt restraint system in a series of 48 kmh frontal impact sled tests (20 g, 80 ms sled acceleration pulse) performed with post mortem human surrogates (PMHS). Three PMHS were tested with a 3-point belt restraint with a progressive (two-stage) force limiting and pretensioning retractor in a sled buck representing the rear seat occupant environment of a 2004 mid-sized sedan.
Technical Paper

Impact Response of Restrained PMHS in Frontal Sled Tests: Skeletal Deformation Patterns Under Seat Belt Loading

This study evaluated the response of restrained post-mortem human subjects (PMHS) in 40 km/h frontal sled tests. Eight male PMHS were restrained on a rigid planar seat by a custom 3-point shoulder and lap belt. A video motion tracking system measured three-dimensional trajectories of multiple skeletal sites on the torso allowing quantification of ribcage deformation. Anterior and superior displacement of the lower ribcage may have contributed to sternal fractures occurring early in the event, at displacement levels below those typically considered injurious, suggesting that fracture risk is not fully described by traditional definitions of chest deformation. The methodology presented here produced novel kinematic data that will be useful in developing biofidelic human models.
Technical Paper

Pediatric Thoracoabdominal Biomechanics

No experimental data exist quantifying the force-deformation behavior of the pediatric chest when subjected to non-impact, dynamic loading from a diagonal belt or a distributed loading surface. Kent et al., (2006) previously published juvenile abdominal response data collected using a porcine model. This paper reports on a series of experiments on a 7-year-old pediatric post-mortem human subject (PMHS) undertaken to guide the scaling of existing adult thoracic response data for application to the child and to assess the validity of the porcine abdominal model. The pediatric PMHS exhibited abdominal response similar to the swine, including the degree of rate sensitivity. The upper abdomen of the PMHS was slightly stiffer than the porcine behavior, while the lower abdomen of the PMHS fit within the porcine corridor. Scaling of adult thoracic response data using any of four published techniques did not successfully predict the pediatric behavior.
Technical Paper

Finite Element Analysis of Hard and Soft Tissue Contributions to Thoracic Response: Sensitivity Analysis of Fluctuations in Boundary Conditions

Thoracic trauma is the principle causative factor in 30% of road traffic deaths. Researchers have developed force-deflection corridors of the thorax for various loading conditions in order to elucidate injury mechanisms and to validate the mechanical response of ATDs and numerical human models. A corridor, rather than a single response characteristic, results from the variability inherent in biological experimentation. This response variability is caused by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The intrinsic factors are associated with individual differences among human subjects, e.g., the differences in material properties and in body geometry. The extrinsic sources of variability include fluctuations in the loading and supporting conditions in experimental tests.
Technical Paper

Structural and Material Changes in the Aging Thorax and Their Role in Crash Protection for Older Occupants

The human body undergoes a variety of changes as it ages through adulthood. These include both morphological (structural) changes (e.g., increased thoracic kyphosis) and material changes (e.g., osteoporosis). The purpose of this study is to evaluate structural changes that occur in the aging bony thorax and to assess the importance of these changes relative to the well-established material changes. The study involved two primary components. First, full-thorax computed tomography (CT) scans of 161 patients, age 18 to 89 years, were analyzed to quantify the angle of the ribs in the sagittal plane. A significant association between the angle of the ribs and age was identified, with the ribs becoming more perpendicular to the spine as age increased (0.08 degrees/year, p=0.012). Next, a finite element model of the thorax was used to evaluate the importance of this rib angle change relative to other factors associated with aging.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Response of the Pediatric Abdomen, Part 2: Injuries and Their Correlation with Engineering Parameters

This paper describes the injuries generated during dynamic belt loading to a porcine model of the 6-year-old human abdomen, and correlates injury outcomes with measurable parameters. The test fixture produced transverse, dynamic belt loading on the abdomen of 47 immediately post-mortem juvenile swine at two locations (upper/lower), with penetration magnitudes ranging from 23% – 65% of the undeformed abdominal depth, with and without muscle tensing, and over a belt penetration rate range of 2.9 m/s – 7.8 m/s. All thoracoabdominal injuries were documented in detail and then coded according to the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS). Observed injuries ranged from AIS 1 to AIS 4. The injury distribution matched well the pattern of injuries observed in a large sample of children exposed to seatbelt loading in the field, with most of the injuries in the lower abdomen.
Technical Paper

Internal vs. External Chest Deformation Response to Shoulder Belt Loading, Part 1: Table-Top Tests

This study presents a detailed comparison of internally and externally measured chest deflections resulting from eight tests conducted on three male post mortem human subjects. A hydraulically driven shoulder belt loaded the anterior thorax under a fixed spine condition while displacement data were obtained via a high-speed 16-camera motion capture system (VICON MX™). Comparison of belt displacement and sternal displacement measured at the bone surface provided a method for quantifying effective change in superficial soft tissue depth at the mid sternum under belt loading. The relationship between the external displacement and the decrease in the effective superficial tissue depth was found to be monotonic and nonlinear. At 65 mm of mid-sternal posterior displacement measured externally, the effective thickness of the superficial tissues and air gap between the belt and the skin had decreased by 14 mm relative to the unloaded state.
Technical Paper

Elimination of Thoracic Muscle Tensing Effects for Frontal Crash Dummies

Current crash dummy biofidelity standards include the estimated effects of tensing the muscles of the thorax. This study reviewed the decision to incorporate muscle tensing by examining relevant past studies and by using an existing mathematical model of thoracic impacts. The study finds evidence that muscle tensing effects are less pronounced than implied by the biofidelity standard response corridors, that the response corridors were improperly modified to include tensing effects, and that tensing of other body regions, such as extremity bracing, may have a much greater effect on the response and injury potential than tensing of only the thoracic musculature. Based on these findings, it is recommended that muscle tensing should be eliminated from thoracic biofidelity requirements until there is sufficient information regarding multi-region muscle tensing response and the capability to incorporate this new data into a crash dummy.
Technical Paper

Thoracic Response to Dynamic, Non-Impact Loading from a Hub, Distributed Belt, Diagonal Belt, and Double Diagonal Belts

This paper presents thoracic response corridors developed using fifteen post-mortem human subjects (PMHS) subjected to single and double diagonal belt, distributed, and hub loading on the anterior thorax. We believe this is the first study to quantify the force-deflection response of the same thorax to different loading conditions using dynamic, non-impact, restraint-like loading. Subjects were positioned supine on a table and a hydraulic master-slave cylinder arrangement was used with a high-speed materials testing machine to provide controlled chest deflection at a rate similar to that experienced by restrained PMHS in a 48-km/h sled test. All loading conditions were tested at a nominally non-injurious level initially. When the battery of non-injurious tests was completed, a single loading condition was used for a final, injurious test (nominal 40% chest deflection).
Technical Paper

Development and Validation of a Finite Element Model of a Vehicle Occupant

A finite element human model has been developed to simulate occupant behavior and to estimate injuries in real-world car crashes. The model represents an average adult male of the US population in a driving posture. Physical geometry, mechanical characteristics and joint structures were replicated as precise as possible. The total number of nodes and materials is around 67,000 and 1,000 respectively. Each part of the model was not only validated against human test data in the literature but also for realistic loading conditions. Additional tests were newly conducted to reproduce realistic loading to human subjects. A data set obtained in human volunteer tests was used for validating the neck part. The head-neck kinematics and responses in low-speed rear impacts were compared between the measured and calculated results. The validity of the lower extremity part was examined by comparing the tibia force in a foot impact between the test data and simulation results.