RESEARCH – CRASH PROTECTION

Since its inception ARCCA has always relied on research as a means of advancing the state of the art related to occupant crash protection. Often such research projects are conducted as a collaborative effort among biomechanic, crashworthiness, failure analysis and accident reconstruction experts.

ARCCA crashworthiness engineers are skilled at conducting a variety of tests, including full-scale dynamic crash testing, sled testing, drop testing and static and quasi static testing. Test fixtures, as well as some of the test prototypes, are built in-house by our highly skilled fabricators using our onsite machine shop.

A standard injury reduction process is followed for our research projects including:

  • Analyze injury case data to identify injury trends
  • Conduct biomechanical analyses to identify the mechanism(s) of injury
  • Research and identify countermeasures to the injury mechanisms identified using engineering hierarchy:
    • Redesign the hardware to eliminate or minimize the hazard
    • Develop and incorporate guards to protect from the hazard
    • Develop effective warnings and instructions mitigate the hazard
    • Develop and provide training to teach the worker/user how to minimize the hazard.

Examples of research projects involving seat belts and airbags:

Development of the Common Crashworthy Occupant Protection System (CCOPS) for the United States Army

This project was the culmination of work from multiple contracts with the U.S. Army. The first was to develop a “well-defined” prototype occupant crash protection system to counter the identified injury threats and demonstrate its effectiveness through testing and simulation. The second objective was to develop a computer-based, web-compatible multi-media occupant crash protection development guide to present the principles of occupant crash protection in the military operational environment. The development guide is an electronic medium that provides guidance and appropriate reference material, as well as insight into the field of occupant crash protection, to Army program and acquisition managers, developers of operational requirements, system safety engineers, and project engineers. The final stage of the project was to develop a working seating system that was put through a full battery of dynamic testing.

Dual Stage Variable Load Energy Absorber (DSVEA)

The DSVEA project was funded by the U.S. Army to help reduce injuries to seated occupants whose vehicle is exposed to a blast. The U.S Army and U.S. Marines have a requirement for blast-resistant seating to protect the occupants of ground vehicles. Current seating systems used by the United States military do not fully protect the occupant during IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) blasts or the subsequent slam-down (slam-down is an event which occurs following a blast when the vehicle returns to the ground). IEDs provide wide variability that often voids the current protection limits.

The Dual Stage Variable Energy Absorber (DSVEA) is an advanced approach to dealing with the multiple shock events that are prevalent during today’s warfare. It is a powerful and useful technology that needs to be specifically and appropriately integrated into the ground vehicle environment. The DSVEA responds to a variety of input blast conditions and adjusts to a full range of weighted subjects and is able to handle both the blast and the slam-down phases without creating a bottoming out condition. It also integrates with seat belts attached to the seated surface so that the movement of the seat under blast conditions will not cause the belts to go slack and create a larger hazard during the post blast slam-down. It is critical that any seating system incorporated into a ground vehicle expected to be exposed to IED and mine blast events include a restraint system mounted to the seat structure and a seat bottom that at least manages the amplification factor of the loading input so as to readily accept DSVEA.