Validation of a Non-Linear Finite Element Vehicle Model Using Multiple Impact Data
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Validation of a Non-Linear Finite Element Vehicle Model Using Multiple Impact Data

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    A detailed multi-purpose finite element model of a 1994 Chevrolet C-1500 pick-up truck was developed at the FHWA/NHTSA National Crash Analysis Center. The model is the first of its kind developed specifically to address vehicle safety issues, including front and side performance, as well as road side hardware design. The former application typically involves large regional deformation with impact durations of no more than 150 msec. The latter encompasses damage along a larger portion of the vehicle, and due to longer interaction time between the vehicle and impacted device coupled with the need to observe post impact dynamics, requires simulations that could last as long as 1 second. This paper describes the results of a non-linear finite element computer simulation using this model for frontal full barrier and median highway barrier impacts. These simulations are conducted in support of research studies undergoing at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to investigate vehicle compatibility, new offset barrier tests, and highway/vehicle safety issues. Full scale vehicle crash tests conducted by NHTSA and FHWA are used for evaluation of the performance of the model. Two tests are compared, a frontal impact with a full rigid wall and a corner impact to a 42-inch Vertical Concrete Median. The comparisons between tests and simulations in terms of overall impact deformation, component failure modes, velocity and acceleration at various locations in the vehicle are presented. Modeling issues including element size, connectivity, and slide line interface of different parts are discussed. In addition, some simulation related hardware and software issues are addressed. The results clearly indicate the model to be consistent with the full scale tests. Additional simulations need to be performed to fully evaluate and validate the model.
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