Advantages of a Thermoplastic Bumper Energy Absorber in a World Without a 5 MPH Bumper Requirement



SAE World Congress & Exhibition
Authors Abstract
With the recent change to the Canadian bumper impact requirement (CMVSS 215) to match Title 49, part 581 of Code of Federal Regulation of the United States (CFR part 581) and/or ECE R42 there is a tendency to think that having capable energy absorbers is no longer beneficial. However, many benefits of thermoplastic energy absorbers are still relevant. For example, highly efficient energy absorbers allow vehicle package space to be minimized. This can help improve vehicle styling or reduce vehicle mass. Thermoplastic energy absorbers (EA) have a history of helping solve poor overlap conditions in both pendulum impacts and deformable barrier impacts. Because of the increased emphasis placed on avoiding high pendulum plane loads as defined in CFR part 581, good “catching” capability from an EA is highly advantageous. Additionally, now that the regulatory requirements have been harmonized at 2.5mph instead of having CMVSS 215 at 5mph, some manufacturers feel that there is no need for an EA. However, our studies have shown that even a shallow EA can provide significant back of beam and system mass improvements. Finally, thermoplastic EAs have a history of being able to provide value added features that either provide features that weren’t previously possible or that can now be achieved with fewer parts in a more economical solution.
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Ralston, D., "Advantages of a Thermoplastic Bumper Energy Absorber in a World Without a 5 MPH Bumper Requirement," SAE Technical Paper 2009-01-0963, 2009,
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Apr 20, 2009
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Technical Paper