Female crash test dummy can reduce injuries

Aug 20, 2012

Women are twice as likely as men to suffer whiplash injuries when hit from behind. Nevertheless, the crash test dummy used for testing is based on the average male. Chalmers researcher Anna Carlsson has now produced a prototype for the first crash test dummy in the world to represent the average female.

The majority of all whiplash injuries occur at benign velocity changes – below 25 kilometres an hour. Even though are at much greater risk, whiplash protection systems are primarily adapted to men.

"I hope that my research will lead to improved whiplash protection for both women and men when they are hit from behind in a collision. From a national economics perspective, it would be advantageous to adapt car protection systems to suit women as well," says Anna Carlsson, who recently defended her thesis at Chalmers.
 
Women's bodies move faster in a collision

In order to produce a model for a female crash , Anna Carlsson tested women getting hit at very low speeds and acceleration in order to assess how an average-sized woman's body moves when hit from behind in a collision.

The researchers then developed a computational model of a female crash test dummy, which they named EvaRID (RID = Rear Impact Dummy). The model is now available for purchase. On the basis of the mathematics model, the researchers produced a prototype for a crash test dummy with female proportions.

The average sized female rear impact prototype dummy, BioRID50F. Credit: Dr Steffan Datentechnik

The dummy was then subjected to eight crash tests in regular car seats. The results were compared to a male dummy. When hit from behind, the female crash test dummy demonstrated generally higher acceleration and quicker motion than the male dummy. Car seat backs do not yield backwards to the same extent when a woman is hit, which means women experience an earlier and more powerful forward rebound.

The neck has a slight curvature when we sit in a normal position. When hit from behind, however, the body is pushed forward by the backrest while the head lags behind, resulting in the neck becoming s-shaped before the head and neck subsequently rotate backwards. The next motion is the body being propelled forward into the seatbelt. This entire course of events takes about half a second. Good whiplash protection reduces injuries, but statistics indicate that the current protection in general is 30 percent more effective for men than for women.
 
Crash test dummy development has reduced injuries

"If we can lower the forward acceleration for both women and men during collisions, we can also significantly lower the risk of injury. One way of doing this is to manufacture a seat that yields backwards in a collision. Another way is to allow the upholstery padding to absorb the energy, meaning the seat frame does not move," says Anna Carlsson.
 
Volvo and Saab have been exceptionally good at producing whiplash protection. Anna Carlsson believes their success is due to BioRID, which is the male crash test dummy they developed at the end of the 1990s in cooperation with Autoliv and Chalmers. The BioRID crash test dummy is currently used all over the world and the risk of injury has been reduced by around 50 percent in the best car seats.
 
"Injuries can be further reduced by producing a female size dummy and by adapting car protection systems", says Anna Carlsson.
 
She hopes that she will be able to continue developing the female dummy, which at this stage is still a prototype. She would also like to develop biomechanical limit values for women since the existing ones are adapted to men.
 
"Since the research indicates that women generally run a higher risk of sustaining injuries during car accidents, we need to separate the statistics and injury criteria for men and women."

Explore further: Technology and data analytics should transform municipal government, professors say

More information: Thesis: publications.lib.chalmers.se/c… ex.xsql?pubid=156181

Watch films of rear impact sled test and simulation: www.mynewsdesk.com/se/pressroo… /chalmers/video/list

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Engineers to create parts of virtual crash test dummy

Dec 11, 2008

You really can learn a lot from a dummy. For decades, automakers have been crashing test dummies to gain insight to how various auto safety systems protect – or fail to protect – people during car accidents. But those ...

Scientist Seeks to Improve Car Seat Safety for Children

Sep 28, 2006

Chris Sherwood studies what happens to children in car crashes. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 2 to 14 years old. In 2003, ...

Young women at growing risk of drunk-driving crashes

Apr 03, 2012

Underage female drinkers have been at a growing risk of fatal car crashes in recent years -- so much that they've caught up with their male counterparts, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on ...

Recommended for you

Skin icons can tap into promise of smartwatch

54 minutes ago

You have heard it before: smartwatches are cool wearables but critics remind us of the fact that their small size makes many actions cumbersome and they question how many people will really have them on their ...

Samsung phones cleared for US government use

1 hour ago

Samsung Electronics Co. said Tuesday some of its Galaxy mobile devices were approved by the National Security Agency for use with classified U.S. government networks and data, a boost to the company's efforts to expand in ...

Amazon, Simon & Schuster sign book retail deal

3 hours ago

Amazon has reached a deal with American book publisher Simon & Schuster, the companies said, though the e-commerce giant remains at loggerheads with France's Hachette over e-book pricing.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Osiris1
1 / 5 (1) Aug 20, 2012
Store them together and u will have really dumb kids
chromosome2
not rated yet Aug 21, 2012
Wait, they're just *now* doing this?
Lurker2358
not rated yet Aug 21, 2012
Wait, they're just *now* doing this?


It never occurred to the dummies that make the dummies that the average female size and anatomy is much different than the average male.