Bumper and Grille Airbags Concept for Enhanced Vehicle Compatibility in Side Impact: Phase II

Fundamental physics and numerous field studies have shown a higher injury and fatality risk for occupants in smaller and lighter vehicles when struck by heavier, taller and higher vehicles. The consensus is that the significant parameters influencing compatibility in front-to-side crashes are geometric interaction, vehicle stiffness, and vehicle mass. The objective of this research is to develop a concept of deployable bumper and grille airbags for improved vehicle compatibility in side impact. The external airbags, deployed upon signals from sensors, may help mitigate the effect of weight, geometry and stiffness differences and reduce side intrusions. However, a highly reliable pre-crash sensing system is required to enable the reliable deployment, which is currently not technologically feasible. Analytical and numerical methods and hardware testing were used to help develop the deployable external airbags concept. Various Finite Element (FE) models at different stages were developed and an extensive number of iterations were conducted to help optimize airbag and inflator parameters to achieve desired targets. The concept development was executed and validated in two phases. This paper covers Phase II ONLY, which includes: (1) Re-design of the airbag geometry, pressure, and deployment strategies; (2) Further validation using a Via sled test of a 48 kph perpendicular side impact of an SUV-type impactor against a stationary car with US-SID-H3 crash dummy in the struck side; (3) Design of the reaction surface necessary for the bumper airbag functionality. The concept was demonstrated through live deployment of external airbags with a reaction surface in a full-scale perpendicular side impact of an SUV against a stationary passenger car at 48 kph. This research investigated only the concept of the inflatable devices since pre-crash sensing development was beyond the scope of this research. The concept design parameters of the bumper and grille airbags are presented in this paper. Full vehicle-to-vehicle crash test results, Via sled test, and simulation results are also presented. Head peak acceleration, Head Injury Criteria (HIC), Thoracic Trauma Index (TTI), and Pelvic acceleration for the SID-H3 dummy and structural intrusion profiles were used as performance metrics for the bumper and grille airbags. Results obtained from the Via sled tests and the full vehicle-to-vehicle tests with bumper and grille airbags were compared to those of baseline test results with no external airbags.


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  • Accession Number: 01502571
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 26 2013 3:11PM