Energy Absorption And Performance Of A Vehicle Impact Protection System
Free (open access)
G Nagel & D Thambiratnam
The occurrence of animal strikes with vehicles travelling on outback Australian roads has necessitated the need for mounting a Vehicle Frontal Protection System, or VFPS, to the front of the vehicle structure. Such a device acts to minimise damage to the engine bay and other essential components of the vehicle in the event of an animal strike and during minor collisions. The clearance between the VFPS and the vehicle provides a zone over which impact energy can be absorbed, thus reducing peak damaging forces from being transmitted to the vehicle and occupants during the impact event. A device is being developed, termed the Vehicle Impact Protection (VIP) system, which utilizes this space to absorb impact energy and enhance the overall performance of the VFPS in providing safety to the vehicle and its occupants. The VIP will be mounted between the VFPS and the chassis rails of the vehicle, thus providing a load path along which impact forces can travel from the VFPS to the vehicle. Current developments include initial review and selection of suitable Energy Absorbing (EA) mechanisms for use in the VIP. Physical testing is being used to assess the energy absorbing capacity of the EA mechanisms under quasi- static and dynamic loading. Finite Element (FE) simulations are being used to validate such tests and compare the behaviour of these mechanisms in a frontal impact. Future work in the project will involve developing concepts for the VIP based on selected EA mechanisms. This paper will present the research carried out thus far and discuss the findings.