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Thoracic impact and injury in side impact accidents
Published September 14, 1988 by International Research Council on Biokinetics of Impact in Switzerland
The Transport and Road Research Laboratory has carried out a large number of side impact tests in order to gain a better understanding of side impact injury mechanisms and as part of a program to develop the European test procedure. Some comparison tests have also been made using the barrier proposed for the US test procedure. In parallel with these tests, a series of quasi-static crush tests has been carried out using one of the types of car studied in the full scale test series. A suite of computer simulation programs has also been developed which is being upgraded in the light of the test results.
In the analysis of the experimental data, the effects of vehicle size, structural characteristics and door padding have been studied, along with the effects of different bullet vehicle characteristics. Some of the results have revealed misconceptions in some commonly held ideas, demonstrating the complexity of the side impact problem. In particular, it appears that the overall probability of injury is directly related neither to overall structural stiffness nor to the final extent of intrusion. Much more important is the way in which the stiffnesses of different parts of the side structure relate to one another.
In both the experimental tests and the compute simulations a number of different injury criteria have been compared. The results suggest that multiple performance criteria may well give a better prediction of injury to the thorax. The analyses indicate that thoracic loading may be influenced by pelvic motion but the extent of this has not yet been quantified sufficiently to relate to human performance.