Whiplash Associated Disorders are the most frequent and aggravating traffic-related safety problems, resulting in serious implications for society. During the last decade, significant progress has been made in improving occupant safety through the use of safety and the construction of the car body itself. Already, the computational occupant models are compared with test dummies, proving a basis for validation. However, a formal design methodology for complex safety systems in which the synergistic effects of coupling between various interacting phenomena, such as the vehicle dynamics, structural analysis and occupant/biomechanics are explored and exploited at every stage of the design process does not exist. Design optimisation for vehicle safety systems has traditionally been a process based on creativity, past experience and knowledge of the designer.
The design and rating of vehicles regarding whiplash injury protection is an extremely challenging task, because multiple design factors are likely to affect the whiplash motion. However, no studies have quantified the varying effects of primary vehicle design factors across all WAD phases. Moreover, the optimisation of different injury criteria for different phases of WAD via rigorous and versatile optimisation methods has not been considered.
The current study proposes to develop a design methodology incorporating the contribution of vehicle design factors (such as vehicle structural characteristics, seat geometry and material, etc.) to all four phases (retraction, extension, rebound and protraction) of whiplash, and to optimise vehicle safety/minimize injury potential. Also, there is much scope for safety system design to "adapt" to females and children, because statistically they incur twice the risk of whiplash injury, as male car occupants. The adaptability of safety system to occupant size/gender is one of the major project undertakings proposed here.
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