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Side Impact Explained SRN 07

Side Impact Explained SRN 07

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Published by: api-3850559 on Oct 19, 2008
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Explanation of the CU Side-Impact Test Error (Revised 1-22-07)
\ue000 2007 Safe Ride News Publications
1) Consumers Union (CU) claimed that they simulated the New Car Assessment

Program (NCAP) crash tests. Note that a crash test is one in which an actual
vehicle is crashed. A dynamic test or sled test is one in which a laboratory sled
is set up to create the change in velocity to simulate a real crash. The sled has a
bench on which the dummies or child restraints are installed.

2) The 30 mph change in velocity of the NHTSA sled test required for child
restraints is, itself, more severe than 97 percent of real-world frontal crashes. It is

approximately the same as two similar sized vehicles colliding head-on at 30
mph or a vehicle going 60 mph into a parked car. In the latter scenario, the
vehicle hits the parked car at 60 mph, accelerates the parked car to 30 mph, and
continues forward at reduced speed of 30 mph, so the change in velocity for the
passengers is 30 mph.

People get hurt when the change in velocity happens very fast, like hitting the
brick wall, unless a restraint system helps slow them down. When a vehicle
brakes to a stop from 30 mph, no one gets hurt because it happens over a long
period of time.

3) Simulating the frontal NCAP crash on a sled is done by setting the speed of

the test sled at 35 mph. The bench with the child restraint installed faces
squarely forward. This test is the equivalent of hitting an immovable wall at 35
mph. Although the difference in speed between a 30-mph test (required for car
seats to pass FMVSS 213) and a 35-mph test (used by CU) is only about 16%, the
change in force (energy) is much greater\u201436 percent. This is because the force
changes exponentially, meaning the energy goes up with the square of the speed

4) Simulating the side-impact NCAP test on a test sled is much more complex.

The NCAP side-impact test recreates an intersection crash in which the vehicle
with dummies inside moving at 17 mph is hit squarely from the left at 34 mph.
The struck vehicle is impacted and then pushed to the right while still moving
forward. In the laboratory, the striking (\u201cbullet\u201d) vehicle is simulated by a
moving barrier with a crushable metal honey comb on the front.

For practical purposes, the actual NCAP side-impact test is set up with a
stationary struck vehicle instead of a moving one. To simulate the situation in
which both vehicles are moving, the angle of impact is adjusted and the speed of
the striking barrier is set at 38mph instead of 34. Because the vehicle being
struck is not anchored to the ground like a brick wall and because of the crushing
front end of the moving barrier, the change of velocity (Delta V) acting on the
passengers is considerably lower than in the frontal NCAP crash, about 14 to 18
mph, depending on the weight of the two vehicles and other factors. When the
vehicle is struck and knocked to the side, the occupants move forward and

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