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Over the course of the years we have worked on the restraint systems of dozens of vehicles.
Some are more memorable than others. Especially the ones that introduced new technologies have stuck.
Others are memorable, because of personal reasons. On this page we have some of them assembled.
Some more are waiting in the dressing room, but cannot yet reveal themselves.
Vehicle occupant simulation models are traditionally used for the analysis and optimization
of restraint systems for frontal impact. They may, however, also be employed for roll-over
analysis and side impact analysis. Rapid development of a model and careful validation against
test results ensures that it can make a valuable contribution to the restraint system
integration process. The use of simulation analysis has strongly increased to keep the
development time of the next generation intelligent restraint systems in check.
The first generation of airbags was designed to catch an unbelted adult male in a 30mph frontal crash.
The power needed for this proved to be too much for short statue, closely seated drivers and
The government responded by first changing the requirements such that the industry could de-power the airbags.
Five years of research and development followed, leading to the introduction of many new technologies.
This all culminated in the "Advanced Airbag Rule".
Vehicle and Occupant Crash analysis require enormous computer resources. Throughout the 80's and 90' car companies would
typically have one or several Cray super-computers to do the number-crunching. These enormously expensive machines would be
shared amongst several departments and it could be days before your scheduled job would run. In the 90's smaller, RISC based
Unix workstations were making inroads that would become seriously powerful by the middle of the decade.
... and then came the little PC and the linux operating system that gave birth to compute clusters...
Side impact analysis differs from frontal impact analysis in that the vehicle structure
directly interacts with the occupant. This requires detailed modeling of that structure.
Whereas Finite Element Analysis is used in the latter stages of the design, a simpler
model comprising linked rigid bodies is often sufficient for the early stages.
In Multi-Physics analysis different engineering branches meet to solve a problem. In
airbag analysis the gases deploying the cushion are described with Eulerian physics,
while the structure is decribed with Lagrangian physics. In battery temperature
control it is transient heat transfer analysis combined with Navier-Stokes fluid analysis.
Such combinations require a little extra both from the software and from the analyst.
Maybe that's why we like it so much. On the subject page examples of fluid-structure interaction,
battery temperature control, and acoustics are presented.
Crash dummy models are indispensible tools for the development of restraint systems with
the aide of computer simulations. Models need to be a genuine representation of the real
thing, which requires careful validation against test results. They also need to be efficient
in their use such that the analysis can keep up with the development program. We have a long
track record of dummy database development, employing combinations of multi-body and
finite element techniques.
Although seldom life threatening, lower extremity injuries can be very debilitating.
Computer simulations were once again used to conceptualize a new type of airbag device.
This one, called the Seat Cushion Restraint System, rises from the seat to lift the legs up.
This in turn lifts the feet off the toe board. It would be deployed in case of a frontal
collision to mitigate the injuries to the lower extremities caused by toe board intrusion.
A concept in 1995, a patent in 1997, and currently under development for implementation
in a future vehicle.
With more and more trucks out on the roads, vehicle bumper height incompatibility becomes
an ever greater problem. Cars can easily slide under the bumper of a truck without their
crush zone being engaged. Especially vehicles employing single point sensing require enhanced
upper structure rigidity to ensure propagation of the pulse to the crash sensor. Vehicles
utilizing multi-sensor systems require careful location selection to maximize their effectiveness.
Foam and other impact absorbing materials are finding more and more use in the
vehicle environment. With the expansion of the FMVSS 201, research intensified
to find economic ways to make the vehicle interior more friendly to head impact.
A thorough understanding of the way padding materials absorb energy is a start
towards achieving that goal.
Although statistically air travel is much safer than travel by car, air plane
accidents do still grab the publics' attention. Especially if it seems that the
crash was of a survivable nature. The aircraft industry has adobted standards
to increase the survivability of plane crashes by ensuring certain levels of
structural strength. The same tools that have been used in the automotive industry
to assess strength under dynamic conditions are also finding their way into
the aircraft industry.
Plastics, rubbers, and fiber reinforced composites slowly take on a larger and larger
part of total content of a vehicle. They have, however, their own set of properties,
manufacturing techniques, and uses. Often the final properties are not established
until the product is in its ultimate finished form. Computer Aided Engineering and
Finite Element Analysis therefore play an important role in the development of such
products as does materials research.
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