Crash Dynamics Simulation of Novel Airbag Based Next Generation Energy Absorbing Barrier

The fatality analysis report system of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 42,000 people in the United States are killed annually in motor vehicle crashes. Approximately 30 percent of the fatalities are from run-off-the-road crashes involved in collisions with roadside objects. Energy absorbing barriers (EABs) such as concrete median barriers, guardrails, guardrail end treatments, impact attenuators, crash cushions and bridge rails are designed to absorb and dissipate the kinetic energy of run-off-the-road vehicles efficiently. The main purpose of EABs is to increase vehicle occupant survivability while reducing injury levels by smoothly redirecting an errant vehicle to bring it to a controlled stop and to prevent deadly rollover or crossover accidents. Non-linear, three-dimensional, FEA codes ANSYS and LSDYNA-3D are used to perform realistic and predictive virtual crash simulations for analyzing the large-deformation dynamic responses of elastic or inelastic structures using implicit as well as explicit time integration schemes. This paper presents a novel airbag technology, fluid-structure interaction effect based patented EAB designed and tested by the researchers at North Carolina A&T State University primarily for high velocity impacts. Simulation and testing have shown marked improvements compared to the current generation of EABs. The analysis consists of a crash deformation profile, acceleration records at different locations, and energy absorptions by different components.

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