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Vehicle structural design strategies for enhanced safety in side impact collision Asadkarami, Ali

Abstract

One of the major challenges for automotive engineers is to provide adequate protection to motor vehicle occupants involved in side impact collisions. Although, side impacts are less frequent than frontals, to both the occupant and vehicle designer they are as serious because the number and severity of injuries per accident is greater. The objective of the current research work is to develop an approach to optimize the vehicle structure for side impact collisions and provide recommendations to enhance vehicle structural design. To achieve the above objectives, this research study was broken into five phases: Phase (1) A side impact finite element simulation package was developed as an analysis tool for use in this research. As such, this phase discusses the development and verification of the finite element simulation package based on FMVSS-214 standard compliance test configuration utilizing the LS-DYNA software. This package consists of finite element model of a U.S. Moving Deformable Barrier (MDB), a US Side Impact Dummy (SID) , and a target vehicle (1990 Ford Taurus), Phase (2) The previously developed simulation package was utilized to investigate the effect of the collision parameters on the occupant injury likelihood within this phase, Phase (3) A new criterion was developed and verified which simplifies the numerical analyses such that they are computationally cost effective, Phase (4) The critical vehicle structural components in providing side impact crashworthiness were identified, and the effects of their stiffness on the occupant injury likelihood were investigated within this phase, and Phase (5) The results of the previous phases were utilized in this phase to develop a strategy for optimizing the stiffness of the side structure elements, thus minimizing the injury likelihood. The results of this study demonstrated a successful example of the developed state-of-the-art strategy to optimize the vehicle structure to improve side impact crashworthiness. This new strategy is a significant contribution of this research, and improves upon the current design strategy in two ways: (1) this new approach recognizes the effects of the collision parameters on the occupant injury likelihood and addresses their effect on the optimization of the vehicle structure for side impact collisions, and (2) the developed strategy improves the efficiency of the design analysis tools by utilizing a new developed criterion for assessing the vehicle structural side impact crashworthiness. The development and verification of this criterion is also a significant contribution of this research, which could substantially improve the efficiency of the design process and thus should be of benefit to vehicle designers especially early in the vehicle design process. This work also provides insight information for vehicle regulators by substantiating the relative effect of various key collision parameters on the risk of occupant injury in side impact collisions in North America.

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