A mathematical simulation was performed to study the potential of head and neck injury to an unbelted driver restrained by an airbag. The baseline study represented a 50th percentile male dummy driving in a compact car with the steering wheel perpendicular to the floor. The vehicle was moving at 48 km/hour at the time of impact. Model predictions were compared with sled test results. The data agreed reasonably well. A parametric study was performed to study the effect of changing the steering wheel angle and the size of the airbag. It was found that when the standard 20 degrees angle steering wheel was used, neck joint torques were decreased by 22 percent while the resultant head acceleration increased 41 percent from the base line study. When the vertical dimension of the airbag was reduced by 10 percent, neck joint torques were increased by 14 percent, while head acceleration showed a slight decrease of 9 percent.
Computer Simulation of Occupant Neck Response to Airbag Deployment in Frontal Impacts
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Yang, K. H., Latouf, B. K., and King, A. I. (August 1, 1992). "Computer Simulation of Occupant Neck Response to Airbag Deployment in Frontal Impacts." ASME. J Biomech Eng. August 1992; 114(3): 327–331. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2891391
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