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Rollover Analysis of Bus Using Body Section

Method as per AIS-031 Standard

Published on
9th-12th January
2013, SIAT, India

S R Nigade, S S Dandge and R S Mahajan

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), India

H V Vankudre
Sinhgad College of Engineering, India

Copyright 2013 SAE International and Copyright 2013 SIAT, India

Keywords: Bus Rollover, Body Section, AIS-031 Standard,

Simulation, CAE Certification.

Automotive Industry Standard (AIS)-031 specifies the
requirement of strength of large passenger vehicles in case
of rollover. In India the certificate is granted after the
successful completion of rollover test of the vehicle as per
AIS-031. Complete vehicle is used for rollover test in which
the vehicle is tilted laterally in the ditch of 800 mm. Such
tests with complete vehicle are costly and unaffordable
to small bus body builders. So according to Annex 2 of
AIS-031, manufacture can carryout rollover on body sections
of the vehicle. This is an equivalent approval method which
is less costly compared to rollover test on complete vehicle.
It requires detailed study of superstructure and selection of
weakest body sections from the given superstructure of bus,
which in turn requires mass and energy calculation of body

Bus is one of the major modes of public transport in India.
The rollover is the most dangerous accident in case of
buses and coaches. The collapse of the roof compresses the
passengers causing fatalities and series injuries. It occurs
less frequently than all other types of automotive accidents,
but the probability of fatalities and severe injuries is more
in rollover type accidents. In a bus rollover, occupants are
further away from the axis of rotation compared to other
types of vehicles. Hence, occupants are at greater risk in
a rollover crash. It is essential that the bus superstructure
should be stiff enough to protect the occupant survival space
or residual space from any intrusion. Therefore superstructure
should absorb the maximum crash energy.

For doing rollover analysis using body section, bus is

selected which has already passed a full-rollover test. Body
section is a structural unit, which represents one part of
the superstructure for the purpose of an approval test. A
body section contains at least two bays (ring like structure
of vertical pillars, roof stick and floor members) connected
by representative structural members. Weakest body section
was identified from superstructure using Computer Aided
Engineering (CAE) tools. Results obtained from body section
rollover were compared with full vehicle rollover simulation
and physical test of full bus. Body section successfully passed
the rollover simulation and found conservative compared to
full bus rollover. This methodology will be useful in future
to setup body section rollover test procedures for certification.

For passive safety of passengers against rollover accidents,

AIS-031 regulation is being implemented in India from
October 2008, which is derived from ECE-R66 [1]. The
superstructure of the bus shall be so designed and constructed
as to eliminate the greatest possible extent the risk of injury
to the occupants in the event of an accident. This standard
specifies the requirement of strength of the bus superstructure
for the protection of occupants of the bus.
The superstructure of the vehicle shall be of sufficient
strength to ensure that during and after it has been subjected
to one of the methods of rollover test no displaced part of
the vehicle intrudes into the residual space or no part of
the residual space projects outside the deformed structure.

Symposium on International Automotive Technology 2013

The following are the different methods of rollover test are

mentioned in AIS-031 standard, out of which manufacturer
can choose any one method [2].
1. Rollover test on a complete vehicle
2. Rollover test of body sections
3. Pendulum test of body sections
4. Verification of strength of superstructure by calculation

Figure 1. Rings in the Superstructure.

The last three methods are alternative to first one, but not
much literature is available on these three methods [3-6].

For finding weak body section, energy absorbing capacity of

each ring in the superstructure was found out by quasi-static
loading simulation of ring (Fig. 2).

In case of rollover test of body section, one of the important

question is how to choose a body section which will represent
the entire superstructure of bus and build it for testing. There
is significant constructional variation between one section
of the vehicle to other because of several parameters like
installation of the air conditioning on the roof, openings
for the door, emergency exits etc. The window and door
pillars also may have variations. At the front and rear facia,
there are special rings having the strong structure below
the windscreen and rear window. Also windscreen and rear
window can significantly affect the deformation of these rings
and ultimately of body sections. During rollover process,
deformation of chassis is very less and acts as a rigid part.
Therefore it is very important to identify which parts of
superstructure contribute to its strength, which parts do not
get deformed or acts like rigid part during rollover process.
Mass distribution and location of center of gravity are also
very important in body section to make it representative of
superstructure of bus. Due to all above difficulties in body
section rollover test, it is not widely used method even
though it is cost effective.

Figure 2. Quasi-static Loading of Ring.

Finite Element Modelling

Each ring was separated out from the superstructure. Residual
space was defined inside the ring as per standard definition.
Angle made by the vertical pillar of the bus with ground
just before impact was found out graphically. At this angle,
rigid plate was created just near the point of contact i.e.
at cantrail. During rollover process, part of superstructure
which is above floor mainly deforms and absorbs maximum
amount of energy. Therefore all parts below floor were
made rigid. The non-linear material model was used for
the deformable structure. Contact was defined between the
various components of the ring. Displacement was applied
to the rigid plate in the direction of center of gravity till
any part of ring intrudes inside the residual space. Energy
absorbed by the each ring just before intrusion inside residual
space was calculated.

CAE methodology is now very well developed and is widely

used for evaluation of impact phenomenon like bus rollover.
This methodology is proven to generate necessary confidence
for certification of bus in rollover test. With the help of CAE,
it is possible to compare strength of each body section and
decide the weakest body section objectively and accurately.


Body section means a structural unit, which represents one
part of the superstructure for the purposes of an approval test.
Body section is formed by two closed ring and connecting
elements between them. (Side, roof, and underfloor,
structures). Weak/representative body section is selected for
rollover analysis. As rings in the superstructure absorb the
maximum energy during the rollover, they contribute mainly
to the strength of body section. There were total nine rings
in the superstructure of the bus considered for this study as
shown in Fig. 1.

Each ring was having different geometrical configurations and

therefore had different energy absorbing capacity. Energies
absorbed by all the rings are tabulated in Table 1. R7 and
R8 rings absorbed minimum energy. Therefore, body section
consisting of rings R7 and R8 was weak body section. This
weak body section was further used for rollover analysis.

Symposium on International Automotive Technology 2013

Table 1. Energy Absorbed by Rings.

Figure 3. Energy Plot for Superstructure Members.

Mass Distribution

Total energy absorbed by these parts is 72.48 kJ which is

77.35% of full bus energy against the requirement of 75% as
per AIS-031 standard. It was found that vertical pillars, roof
horizontal members, roof joints, cantrail, waistrail absorbs the
maximum part of energy. Therefore these parts contribute
mainly to strength of the superstructure.

Mass distribution is very important parameter in preparation

of body section. It is required to distribute unlade mass of
vehicle among the rings. Mass distribution relates to energy
absorbing capability of rings. Mass of the parts which are
below floor of the bus is uniformly distributed over the
length of the bus as it behaves as rigid during rollover [5].
Total mass of the bus

Mass of superstructure =
Mass of remaining parts which
rear wheels, axels, battery, fuel
gearbox, compressor)

From Table 1, total energy absorbed by the rings which

are in front and behind center of gravity is 41.44 kJ and
31.04 kJ respectively. The distances of main energy bearers
i.e. rings from Center of Gravity (CG) are listed in Table 2.

11900 kg
4484 kg
are below floor (front and
tank, spare wheel, engine,
7416 kg

Table 2. Distance of Rings from CG.

The mass of all parts which are below floor (7416 kg) is
uniformly distributed over entire span of rings.
Total length of bus

12000 mm

Mass per unit length


0.618 kg/mm

Width of weak body section which is selected for rollover

1598 mm
Mass of the body section parts which are below floor

987 kg

Mass of body section parts which are above floor = 488 kg.
Total mass of body section = 1475 kg

Energies absorbed by different parts of the superstructure
are shown in the Fig. 3 and are listed in Table 1. To find
out total energy absorbed by load bearing structure, energies
absorbed by individual parts were added.

Symposium on International Automotive Technology 2013

Averaged distances of the main bearers accommodated at

the front and at the rear of the center of gravity of bus are
determined by the equations mentioned in Eqn. 1. [2]


All the obtained values of energies and lengths are listed in

table as follows. All the values mentioned in Table 3 fulfill
the regulation conditions.

Figure 4. FE Model of Body Section.

Table 3. Verification of Simulation Results as per

AIS 031 Standards [2].

Rollover simulation of body section showed no intrusion
inside the residual space. the positions of residual space
and body section before and after impact are shown in
Fig. 5. The minimum gap between residual space and vertical
pillars of body section taken at three different positions are
as mentioned in Table 4. The deformation was more in
case of body section rollover compared to the same body
section during complete bus rollover. The clearance between
superstructure and residual space was minimum in body
section compared to the full bus, hence body section method
is more conservative.


During rollover process, part of the superstructure which is
above the floor deforms more and absorbs maximum part
of energy. Vertical pillars, roof horizontal members absorb
maximum energy. Deformation of parts which are below floor
is less. Therefore all the parts which are below floor were
modeled with rigid material. Residual space and platform is
also modeled with rigid material. Remaining parts of body
section were modeled with non-linear material model. Contact
was defined between the various deformable components of
body section.
To setup the model for rollover analysis, the ground was
created 800 mm below the platform by using rigid material.
To reduce solution time, body section was rotated about the
axis of tilting and brought in position just before impact.
Angular velocity at the point of impact was calculated and
given as initial velocity to all parts of body section. Gravity
is applied to all components of model.

Figure 5. Positions of Body Section and Residual Space

Before and After Impact.

Symposium on International Automotive Technology 2013

Table 4. Comparison of Minimum Gap in Bus and Body


Minimum clearance between

superstructure and residual space *

In Bus from same

body section

In Body Section






Above methodology will be useful for certification of

buses using body section method.


ECE Regulation No. 66, Uniform Provision Concerning

the Approval of Large Passenger Vehicle With Regard
to the Strength of their Superstructure


AIS-031 Regulation, Automotive Vehicles - The

Strength of Superstructure of Large Passenger Vehicles.


Matyas Matolcsy, Body Section Rollover Test as

an Approval Method for Required Strength of Bus
Superstructures, SAE Paper No. 2001-01-3209, 2001,


Matyas Matolcsy, The Severity of Bus Rollover

Accidents, Scientific Society of Mechanical Engineers,
Paper No.07 0989.


K. Turgut Gursel, Serap Gursesli, Analysis of the

Superstructure of a Designed Bus in Accordance with
Regulations ECE R 66, G.U. Journal of Science, 23(1),
pp 71-79, 2010.


R. S. Mahajan, P. N. Daphal and S. M. Athavale,

Study and Analysis of Rollover Resistance of Bus
Body Structure by Non-Linear FEM Technique and
Experimental Method, SAE Paper No.2003-26-0009,
2003, doi:10.4271/2003-26-0009

* Normalised Values

Fig. 6 shows energy balance plot for body section rollover

simulation. Kinetic energy of body section just before impact
was maximum and after impact, it was absorbed in deforming
the section resulting in increasing internal energy. It was
observed that there is good energy balance during rollover

Mr R S Mahajan
Asst. Director (CAE),
The Automotive Research Association of India,
Pune, India.
Contact : +91 20 30231491
E-mail :

Figure 6. Energy Plot for Body Section Rollover.


CAE tool is very useful to find out energy absorbed by

the superstructure, body sections and to arrive at weakest
body section objectively.

Superstructure and rings of the bus met the energy

requirements as per AIS-031 standard.

Rollover simulation of weakest body section met the

requirement of AIS-031.

Intrusion predicted by body section method was more

than full vehicle simulation and test, therefore this
method is more conservative.

Mr S R Nigade
Trainee Engineer (CAE),
The Automotive Research Association of India,
Pune, India.
E-mail :

The Technical Paper Review Committee (TPRC) SIAT 2013 has approved this paper for publication.
This paper is reviewed by a minimum of three (3) subject experts and follows SAE guidelines.

Positions and opinions advanced in this paper are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of
SIAT 2013. The author is solely responsible for the content of the paper.
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