Crashworthiness of a pre NCAP safety standard light truck and corresponding suspension analysis
With current safety regulations, standards and safety equipment, commuters have never been safer while driving an automobile. An increasingly popular past time is to restore or repair antique and vintage automobiles that do not benefit from the current safety standards, regulations and equipment. The driver and occupants of the vehicles are at a much higher risk of injury or fatality because of a lack of current safety devices. Older vehicles also suffer from poor ride and handling characteristics that will affect how well the vehicle will behave in an accident avoidance event. Due to the lack of safety equipment and regulations for older vehicles, and poor ride and handling characteristics, a full vehicle finite element model and multi body dynamic model was created of a 1965 Nissan Patrol G60. The computer models were used to assess the crash and vehicle handling characteristics of the vehicle. The crashworthiness is evaluated by comparing the finite element models performance in a full frontal crash per NCAP criteria. The finite element model was validated by comparing acceleration pulses with an existing finite element model of a 1994 C1500 light pick up truck. Once validated, the acceleration pulses at different location in the finite element model were compared to physical test data of a 2007 jeep wrangler with similar construction and weight. The differences in the crash pulses were used to evaluate the crashworthiness of the pre safety standard vehicle. To evaluate the ride and handling of the vehicle, a multi body dynamic model was developed and simulated performing a single lane change event. The measure for improvement was to minimize the ride steer of the vehicle during the single lane change event. A full factorial design of experiments was created to minimize the ride steer by modifying the rear suspension mounting points within an allowable design space. The results from the finite element model correlated well with the validation model and thus can be used with reasonable assurance for evaluating safety improvements to the vehicle and comparison to physical test data. Comparison with physical test data showed that the current configuration of the vehicle performs well considering the age of the vehicle. With the data from the computer aided crash test and suspension analysis, improvements to the 1965 Nissan patrol can be identified and used to update the vehicle to meet current safety standards. A similar approach can be applied to any vehicle manufactured prior to safety standards and regulations.
Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Includes bibliographic references (leaves 89-91)