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Studies on structural and biomechanical responses in seat integrated safety belt configurations

by Gavelin, Anders, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
The common 3-point safety belt usually has some anchor points on the car body. However, it is also possible to mount all anchor points on the seat structure. In general, different studies show some advantages with seat integrated safety belts. Thus, further investigations are motivated. One safety advantage appears in the case of so-called small overlap crashes. Also, the ride-down distance of the occupant may be increased by allowing controlled energy absorbing deformation of the seat structure. Further, methods that can be used to minimize the weight of seat structures with integrated safety belts are of interest. A complement to full scale crash tests is the use of numerical models and numerical simulation, typically finite element (FE) analysis. Research and development of numerical models are constantly improved. In general, any type of numerical model needs to be evaluated to physical tests in order to make it behave as realistic as possible. The purpose of the present thesis was to study seat structures with integrated safety belts with a design that may intentionally deform and absorb energy during a crash. The approach was to use numerical models and numerical simulation and to investigate both biomechanical and mechanical responses. The aim is to create a basis for future research in the design of seat structures with integrated safety belts. In Paper A and B, parametric studies comparing integrated 3- and 4-point safety belt configurations relative to common 3-point configurations are presented. A number of mechanical parameters were varied. Biomechanical responses of the Hybrid III (HIII) FE-dummy model used as occupant were studied. In Paper C, the creation and evaluation of a human FE-model of a 50th percentile male is presented. The evaluation was made to results from studies with post mortem human subjects (PMHS). In Paper D, a conceptual methodology for mass minimization of a property based model (PBM) of a seat structure with an integrated 3-point safety belt configuration and with a HIII FE-dummy model used as occupant is presented. Both mechanical and biomechanical constraints were used as well as different start values of the design variables. In Paper E, the evaluation of FE-models of simplified seat structures with integrated 3-point safety belt configurations to a number of full scale experiments in the form of sled tests with a HIII crash test dummy used as occupant is presented. The studies in Paper A and B reveals that with an adequate combination of mechanical properties of the seat structure it should be possible to achieve equal or lower biomechanical responses of the occupant with a seat integrated safety belt configuration compared to a common. The seat integrated 4-point configurations in these studies performed poorer than the corresponding 3-point in general. An important issue is that belt- webbing distribution between lap and torso belt parts is allowed. The study in Paper C showed that the created and evaluated human FE-model could be used to further explore injury producing mechanisms. However, in order to achieve a fully evaluated human FE-model there is a need for both further development and more reference tests with PMHS. In Paper D, the study showed that the presented methodology may be used in a concept phase of a design process. The optimization runs with different start values of the design variables found a number of different local minima instead of one global minimum. The dynamics of the system was highly non-linear. To find an optimal combination of mechanical properties and biomechanical responses, a compromise appears to be needed. The evaluated FE-model in Paper E may be used in simulations that consider both biomechanical and mechanical responses. The majority of the simulated responses showed good agreement with or slightly underestimated the experimental responses. Some issues of the FE-model suggest areas for further development. The FE-model could be used as a base for further studies.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Luleå tekniska universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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