Validation of Crush Energy Calculation Methods for Use in Accident Reconstructions by Finite Element Analysis

The crush energy is a key parameter to determine the delta-V in accident reconstructions. Since an accurate car crush profile can be obtained from 3D scanners, this research aims at validating the methods currently used in calculating crush energy from a crush profile. For this validation, a finite element (FE) car model was analyzed using various types of impact conditions to investigate the theory of energy-based accident reconstruction. Two methods exist to calculate the crush energy: the work based on the barrier force and the work based on force calculated by the vehicle acceleration times the vehicle mass. The authors show that the crush energy calculated from the barrier force was substantially larger than the internal energy calculated from the FE model. Whereas the crush energy calculated from the vehicle acceleration was comparable to the internal energy of the FE model. In full frontal impact simulations, the energy of approach factor (EAF) has a linear relation with the residual crush, which had been validated in previous experimental studies. In the study using FE analysis, the authors found that the slope of EAF versus the residual crush was comparable with that of the dynamic crush energy versus the dynamic crush for crashes at 55 km/h. Using this slope and the residual crush from a 55 km/h impact test, the slope and the intercept of the EAF vs. residual crush can be determined using only one crash test. A database of the slopes and the intercepts was made using Japan New Car Assessment Program (JNCAP) tests. In offset impact simulations, the crush energy calculated from the crush profile agreed with the internal energy of the car FE model when at least one front rail was involved. In oblique impacts, the correction factor for crush energy is not necessary within 20 degrees of principal direction of force of the car’s longitudinal axis.


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  • Accession Number: 01688551
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: SAE International
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 09-06-02-0009
  • Files: TRIS, SAE
  • Created Date: Dec 3 2018 10:06AM