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Traffic Inj Prev. 2014;15(1):48-55. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2013.792408.

Optimization of vehicle deceleration to reduce occupant injury risks in frontal impact.

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  • 1a Nagoya University , Nagoya , Japan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In vehicle frontal impacts, vehicle acceleration has a large effect on occupant loadings and injury risks. In this research, an optimal vehicle crash pulse was determined systematically to reduce injury measures of rear seat occupants by using mathematical simulations.

METHOD:

The vehicle crash pulse was optimized based on a vehicle deceleration-deformation diagram under the conditions that the initial velocity and the maximum vehicle deformation were constant. Initially, a spring-mass model was used to understand the fundamental parameters for optimization. In order to investigate the optimization under a more realistic situation, the vehicle crash pulse was also optimized using a multibody model of a Hybrid III dummy seated in the rear seat for the objective functions of chest acceleration and chest deflection. A sled test using a Hybrid III dummy was carried out to confirm the simulation results. Finally, the optimal crash pulses determined from the multibody simulation were applied to a human finite element (FE) model.

RESULTS:

The optimized crash pulse to minimize the occupant deceleration had a concave shape: a high deceleration in the initial phase, low in the middle phase, and high again in the final phase. This crash pulse shape depended on the occupant restraint stiffness. The optimized crash pulse determined from the multibody simulation was comparable to that from the spring-mass model. From the sled test, it was demonstrated that the optimized crash pulse was effective for the reduction of chest acceleration. The crash pulse was also optimized for the objective function of chest deflection. The optimized crash pulse in the final phase was lower than that obtained for the minimization of chest acceleration. In the FE analysis of the human FE model, the optimized pulse for the objective function of the Hybrid III chest deflection was effective in reducing rib fracture risks.

CONCLUSIONS:

The optimized crash pulse has a concave shape and is dependent on the occupant restraint stiffness and maximum vehicle deformation. The shapes of the optimized crash pulse in the final phase were different for the objective functions of chest acceleration and chest deflection due to the inertial forces of the head and upper extremities. From the human FE model analysis it was found that the optimized crash pulse for the Hybrid III chest deflection can substantially reduce the risk of rib cage fractures. Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Traffic Injury Prevention to view the supplemental file.

PMID:
24279966
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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