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Examination of Occupant and Vehicle Responses to Low-Speed Rear-End Crashes

Michael Small, William Abraira, Vincent Grimes, Robert Montuoro and Joseph Godio

Partnered with Cummings Scientific, our project is to further the knowledge of low speed rear impact collisions. To complete this, we looked at the relation of the impact forces and injuries of the occupant. At speeds less than 7 mph, a bumper is designed to hold its shape instead of crumbling as in high-speed collisions. Without bumper deformation, the passenger feels more of the forces that are not absorbed by the bumper. 

The main goals of the project were to make a model that shows the forces felt by a passenger for a range of low speed collisions and to find a relationship between the driver and car during crash events. From live crash testing, we made a model showing the responses in these collisions. We measured the movements of both the car and the passenger and, with the data interpreted in a computer program, we identified the forces experienced during a collision. 

This project investigated the effect of bumper structure with repeated testing to explore how our results compared with other known data. After testing, data was analyzed via software to determine the forces applied to the vehicles. We also investigated how the human body responded, focusing on whiplash since it is a major physical injury resulting from crashes. With the data we created an equation that states the forces experienced by car passengers during these collisions. The results of this project can be used by medical experts and expert witnesses to support claims that the forces experienced could cause whiplash.

Team Members (L to R):
Michael Small, William Abraira, Vincent Grimes, Robert Montuoro and Joseph Godio
Project Website:
Advisor(s):
Shayne McConomy, Ph.D.
Sponsor:
Cummings Scientific, LLC
Semester