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Technical Paper

Analysis of Human Test Subject Kinematic Responses to Low Velocity Rear End Impacts

The head, neck and trunk kinematic responses of four volunteer test subjects, recorded during a series of experimental low velocity motor vehicle collisions, have been measured and analyzed. Using data obtained from multiple high speed film, video and electronic accelerometer measurements of the test subjects, it was found that the actual kinematic responses of the human head, neck and trunk that occur during low velocity rearend collisions are more complex than previously thought. Our findings indicate that the time-honored description of the cervical “whiplash” response is both incomplete and inaccurate. Although the classic “whiplash” neck response to rearend collisions and the widely accepted hyperextension/hyperflexion cervical injury mechanism have been extensively written and speculated about, there have been little human experimental data available, especially for low velocity collisions.
Technical Paper

Assessment of the Accuracy of Google Earth Imagery for use as a Tool in Accident Reconstruction

Google Earth is a map and geographical information application created and maintained by Google Corporation. The program displays maps of the Earth using images obtained from available satellite imagery, aerial photography and geographic information systems (GIS) 3D globe. Google Earth has become a tool often used by accident reconstructionists to create site drawings and obtain dimensional information. In some cases, a reconstructionist will not be able to inspect the site of the crash due to various circumstances. For example, a reconstruction may commence after the roadway on which the accident occurred has been modified. In other cases, the time and expense required to physically inspect the incident site is not justifiable. In these instances, a reconstructionist may have to rely on Google Earth imagery for dimensional information about the site. The accuracy of Google Earth is not officially documented.
Journal Article

Comparison of Quasistatic Bumper Testing and Dynamic Full Vehicle Testing for Reconstructing Low Speed Collisions

It has been proposed that low speed collisions in which the damage is isolated to the bumper systems can be reconstructed using data from customized quasistatic testing of the bumper systems of the involved vehicles. In this study, 10 quasistatic bumper tests were conducted on 7 vehicle pairs involved in front-to-rear collisions. The data from the quasistatic bumper tests were used to predict peak bumper force, vehicle accelerations, velocity changes, dynamic combined crush, restitution, and crash pulse time for a given impact velocity. These predictions were compared to the results measured by vehicle accelerometers in 12 dynamic crash tests at impact velocities of 2 - 10 mph. The average differences between the predictions using the quasistatic bumper data and the dynamic crash test accelerometer data were within 5% for bumper force, peak acceleration, and velocity change, indicating that the quasistatic bumper testing method had no systematic bias compared to dynamic crash testing.
Technical Paper

Data Censoring and Parametric Distribution Assignment in the Development of Injury Risk Functions from Biochemical Data

Biomechanical data are often assumed to be doubly censored. In this paper, this assumption is evaluated critically for several previously published sets of data. Injury risk functions are compared using simple logistic regression and using survival analysis with 1) the assumption of doubly censored data and 2) the assumption of right-censored (uninjured specimens) and uncensored (injured) data. It is shown that the injury risk functions that result from these differing assumptions are not similar and that some experiments will require a preliminary assessment of data censoring prior to finalizing the experimental design. Some types of data are obviously doubly censored (e.g., chest deflection as a predictor of rib fracture risk), but many types are not left censored since injury is a force-limiting phenomenon (e.g., axial force as a predictor of tibia fracture). Guidelines for determining the censoring for various types of experiment are presented.
Technical Paper

Human Head and Neck Kinematics After Low Velocity Rear-End Impacts - Understanding “Whiplash”

A second series of low speed rear end crash tests with seven volunteer test subjects have delineated human head/neck dynamics for velocity changes up to 10.9 kph (6.8 mph). Angular and linear sensor data from biteblock arrays were used to compute acceleration resultants for multiple points on the head's sagittal plane. By combining these acceleration fields with film based instantaneous rotation centers, translational and rotational accelerations were defined to form a sequential acceleration history for points on the head. Our findings suggest a mechanism to explain why cervical motion beyond the test subjects' measured voluntary range of motion was never observed in any of a total of 28 human test exposures. Probable “whiplash” injury mechanisms are discussed.
Technical Paper

Measurement of Tolerable and Non-Injurious Levels of Back-to-Front Whole Body Accelerations

There is a paucity of recent data quantifying the injury risk of forces and accelerations that act on the whole body in a back-to-front direction. The purpose of this study was to quantify the level of back-to-front accelerations that volunteers felt were tolerable and non-injurious. Instrumented volunteers were dropped supine onto a mattress, and their accelerations during the impact with the mattress were measured. Accelerometers were located on the head, upper thoracic and lower lumbar regions. Drop heights started at 0.6 m (2 ft) and progressed upward as high as 1.8 m (6 ft) based on the test subjects' consent. The test panel was comprised of male and female subjects whose ages ranged from 25 to 63 years of age and whose masses ranged from 62 to 130 kg (136 to 286 lb). Peak head, upper thoracic and lower lumbar accelerations of 25.9 g, 29.4 g and 39.6 g were measured.
Technical Paper

Replicating Real-World Friction of Motorcycle Helmet Impacts and Its Effects on Head Injury Metrics

The purpose of this study was to determine the frictional properties between the exterior surface of a motorcycle helmet and ‘typical’ roadway surfaces. Motorcycle helmet impacts into asphalt and concrete surfaces were compared to abrasive papers currently recommended by government helmet safety standards and widely used by researchers in the field of oblique motorcycle helmet impact testing. A guided freefall test fixture was utilized to obtain nominal impact velocities of 5, 7 and 9 m/s. The impacting surfaces were mounted to an angled anvil to simulate an off-centered oblique collision. Helmeted Hybrid III ATD head accelerations and impact forces were measured for each test. The study was limited to a single helmet model and impact angle (30 degrees). Analysis of the normal and tangential forces imparted to the contact surface indicated that the frictional properties of abrasive papers differ from asphalt and concrete in magnitude, duration and onset.
Journal Article

Simulation Model for Low-Speed Bumper-to-Bumper Crashes

The purpose of this study was to develop a numerical analytical model of collinear low-speed bumper-to-bumper crashes and use the model to perform parametric studies of low-speed crashes and to estimate the severity of low-speed crashes that have already occurred. The model treats the car body as a rigid structure and the bumper as a deformable structure attached to the vehicle. The theory used in the model is based on Newton's Laws. The model uses an Impact Force-Deformation (IF-D) function to determine the impact force for a given amount of crush. The IF-D function used in the simulation of a crash that has already occurred can be theoretical or based on the measured force-deflection characteristics of the bumpers of the vehicles that were involved in the actual crash. The restitution of the bumpers is accounted for in a simulated crash through the rebound characteristics of the bumper system in the IF-D function.
Technical Paper

The Effect of the Head-to-Head Restraint Distance on Occupant Kinematics during Low-Speed Rear-End Crashes

The longitudinal motion of the head, thorax and lumbar spine of two test subjects was measured in low-speed rear-end collisions in order to understand the effect of the head-to-head restraint distance (backset) on the occupant kinematics. The two test subjects were exposed to three rear-end impacts at two crash severities, nominal changes in velocity (ΔV) of 1.11 (low ΔV) and 2.22 m/s (high ΔV). The backset was hypothesized to be an independent variable that would affect the head and neck motion and was set at 0, 5 or 10 cm. The x and z-axis accelerations of the impacted vehicle and the anatomical x and z-axis accelerations of each test subjects’ upper thorax and L5-S1 region were measured and then transformed to an earth-based coordinate system. Head accelerations were measured at the mouth and these accelerations were transformed to an earth-based coordinate system at the head center of gravity (CG).