Efficacy of the thoracic side airbag and effective occupant protection in lateral impacts

Gaylor, L 2018, Efficacy of the thoracic side airbag and effective occupant protection in lateral impacts, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Engineering, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Efficacy of the thoracic side airbag and effective occupant protection in lateral impacts
Author(s) Gaylor, L
Year 2018
Abstract In the event of a collision, the vehicle is fitted with passive safety features which aim to reduce the consequences following impact. In the aftermath of a lateral impact, the vehicle may deploy a side airbag over the occupant's chest region to provide supplementary protection. Research reporting the efficacy of the thoracic side airbag has been limited and at times contradicting. Thus, the aim of the research reported in this thesis was to expand upon this and to contribute a better understanding of airbag performance and to identify how injury risk can best be reduced. Retrospective analyses of German and American motor vehicle collision databases were implemented to evaluate the ability of the airbag to reduce the likelihood of thoracic injury. A series of statistical methods, including the matching of similar severity collisions where occupant exposure to a deployed airbag differed, were implemented to obtain efficacy estimates. Controlling for previously unaccounted collision factors enables new efficacy values to be determined, and thus, to contribute to the current body of knowledge. The research was complemented by finite element modelling where a human body model was positioned in a different orientation as the dummy during regulation testing. The aim of the modelling was to report upon the robustness of the airbag in its ability to reduce the risk of injury. The distribution of real world lateral collisions was heavily skewed to vehicle-vehicle side impacts, over single vehicle impacts. Parallel to the introduction of the thoracic side airbag, was the increase in lateral and longitudinal stiffness of the vehicle fleet. When accounting for this stiffness increase, the statistical analysis of vehicle-vehicle side impacts indicated that no additional benefit, in terms of injury risk, was experienced by the nearside occupant. This statistical finding was also reported for single vehicle collisions. The finite element model showed that airbag inflation, interaction with the occupant and deflation was dependent on occupant orientation. The results suggests that, the airbag unit is not robust in reducing injury risk with unconventional seating orientations. Yielding similar characteristics to the results pertained from the real world analysis.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Engineering
Subjects Biomechanical Engineering
Keyword(s) Thoracic injury
Thoracic side airbag
Lateral impact
Door intrusion
Statistical evaluation
Injury association
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Created: Wed, 13 Mar 2019, 13:42:29 EST by Adam Rivett
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