A Novel Capability for Crush Testing Crash Energy Management Structures at Intermediate Rates
The crush performance of lightweight composite automotive structures varies significantly between static and dynamic test conditions. This paper discusses the development of a new dynamic testing facility that can be used to characterize crash performance at high loads and constant speed. Previous research results from the Energy Management Working Group (EMWG) of the Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC) showed that the static crush resistance of composite tubes can be significantly greater than dynamic crush results at speeds greater than 2 m/s. The new testing facility will provide the unique capability to crush structures at high loads in the intermediate velocity range. A novel machine control system was designed and projections of the machine performance indicate its compliance with the desired test tolerances. The test machine will be part of a national user facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and will be available for use in the summer of 2002.