Tyan, T., McClain, B., Arthurs, K., Rupp, J. et al., "Side Crash Pressure Sensor Prediction: An ALE Approach," SAE Int. J. Mater. Manf. 5(2):314-332, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-0046.
An Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian (ALE) approach was adopted in this study to predict the responses of side crash pressure sensors in an attempt to assist pressure sensor algorithm development by using computer simulations. Acceleration-based crash sensors have traditionally been used to deploy restraint devises (e.g., airbags, air curtains, and seat belts) in vehicle crashes. The crash pulses recorded by acceleration-based crash sensors usually exhibit high frequency and noisy responses depending on the vehicle's structural design. As a result, it is very challenging to predict the responses of acceleration-based crash sensors by using computer simulations, especially those installed in crush zones. Therefore, the sensor algorithm developments for acceleration-based sensors are mostly based on physical testing.With the advancement in the crash sensor technology, pressure sensors that detect pressure change in door cavities have been developed recently and production vehicle applications are increasing. The pressure sensors detect pressure change when there is a change in the door volume. Due to the nature of pressure change, the data obtained from side crash pressure sensors exhibits lower frequency and less noisy responses which are quite different from those of the acceleration-based crash sensors. The technology is most promising for side crash applications due to its ability to discriminate crash severities and deploy airbags earlier. The lower frequency and less noisy responses are also more suitable for non-linear finite element codes to predict.To help understand the responses of pressure sensors and obtain reliable test data for model developments, fourteen different benchmark tests were designed and performed in this research. The first set of benchmark tests included a rectangular steel container with one side being compressed while all other sides were fixed to simulate a piston compression condition. The second set of benchmark tests, a series of eight, involved a rigid impactor or a deformable barrier hitting a rectangular steel box with and without a hole. Different speeds were chosen in the second set of component tests to obtain the corresponding responses. The third set of benchmark tests, a series of five, involved a rigid impactor or a deformable barrier hitting a vehicle side door with different openings. Similar to the second set of the benchmark tests; different speeds were chosen to create different crash severities. Computer simulations for all fourteen benchmark tests were conducted by employing the ALE method as one of the studies in this research. The results obtained from the benchmark tests and the computer simulations are presented and discussed in this paper.