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Stapp Car Crash J. 2001 Nov;45:1-32.

Abdominal impact response to rigid-bar, seatbelt, and airbag loading.

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University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.


This study was conducted to resolve discrepancies and fill in gaps in the biomechanical impact response of the human abdomen to frontal impact loading. Three types of abdominal loading were studied: rigid-bar impacts, seatbelt loading, and close-proximity (out-of-position) airbag deployments. Eleven rigid-bar free-back tests were performed into the mid and upper abdomens of unembalmed instrumented human cadavers using nominal impact speeds of 6 and 9 m/s. Seven fixed-back rigid-bar tests were also conducted at 3, 6, and 9 m/s using one cadaver to examine the effects of body mass, spinal flexion, and repeated testing. Load-penetration corridors were developed and compared to those previously established by other researchers. Six seatbelt tests were conducted using three cadavers and a peak-loading rate of 3 m/s. The seatbelt loading tests were designed to maximize belt/abdomen interaction and were not necessarily representative of real-world crashes. The results were compared to data previously obtained by other researchers using swine and were used to establish a new abdominal load-penetration corridor for belt loading. Passenger frontal airbags were deployed into the closely positioned abdomen of three unembalmed cadavers. The penetration-time histories were used to guide the development of a repeatable high-speed surrogate airbag-loading device that uses a low-mass cylinder to simulate the initial breakout phase of close-proximity passenger airbag loading of the abdomen. This device was used to conduct simulated out-of-position airbag tests into three cadaver abdomens. The abdomen response data from these standardized tests were used to develop a load-penetration corridor for abdomen response to out-of-position airbag deployments.


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