Appendix-belts in rear impacts 8-24-22.pdf (567.23 kB)
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Analysis of the lack of restraint with and without belt pretensioning in 40.2 km/h rear impacts

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journal contribution
posted on 22.09.2022, 14:40 authored by David C. Viano

In rear impacts, the seat and seatbelt are intended to provide occupant restraint and maintain the occupant on the seat with favorable kinematics and low biomechanical responses. This study analyzes the lack of restraint provided by lap-shoulder belts in rear impacts with and without pretensioning and offers thoughts on ways to provide early restraint by seatbelts.

Rear sled tests were conducted at 40.2 km/h (25 mph) delta V with a lap-shoulder belted, instrumented 50th Hybrid III. The dummy instrumentation included head, chest and pelvis triaxial acceleration and upper and lower neck triaxial loads and moments. Lap and shoulder belt loads were measured. High-speed video recorded different views of the occupant kinematics. In the first series, two sled tests were conducted with a Ford F-150 driver seat. One test was with the standard lap-shoulder belts only and a second with buckle pretensioner activation. In the second series, three matched tests were conducted with a Ford Escape driver seat. One test was with the lap-shoulder belts only, a second with retractor and anchor pretensioning and a third with only retractor pretensioning. The analysis included occupant kinematics, lap-belt movement and estimation of the load on the occupant’s torso. The load was the sum of force on the upper and lower torso. The upper torso mass was 30.8 kg (67.8 lb) based on GEBOD data for the 50th Hybrid III. It was multiplied by the resultant chest acceleration to calculate the upper torso force. The lower-torso mass was 30.9 kg (68.0 lb). It was multiplied by the resultant pelvic acceleration to calculate the lower torso force. The total load on the seatback was the sum of the upper and lower torso force. The change in angle (θ) of the lap belt was determined by video analysis. The angle θ was from the horizontal up to a line through the lap-belt webbing. Ways to provide early lap-belt restraint were considered.

The rear sled testing at 40.2 km/h (25 mph) showed that the seatbelt provided essentially no restraint of the rearward movement of the occupant. The seat provided essentially all of the rearward restraint with and without pretensioning. There was minimal lap belt load in the series with the dual recliner Escape seat, except for a spike caused by pretensioning. There was more seat deformation in the tests with the single-side recliner F-150 seat. There were higher belt loads. The lap belt limited the lifting of the hips and thighs with essentially no rearward restraint of the occupant. Tension in the lap belt did not relate to restraint of rearward movement of the occupant. Seatbelts provided forward restraint of the occupant during rebound with the belts providing noticeable deceleration of the chest and pelvis. Concepts were considered to provide early lap-belt restraint. One involved a rear pretensioner that dynamically moves the lap-belt anchor forward and upward while tightening the belts in a rear impact. This provides a lap-belt angle greater than θ = 90 deg before occupant movement. With this geometry, the lap belt restrains rearward movement of the occupant and pulls the hip down early in a rear impact.

Seatbelts and pretensioners were designed for occupant restraint in frontal crashes, so it is not a surprise they do not provide much restraint of an occupant in rear impacts up to 40.2 km/h (25 mph). The lack of early lap-belt restraint is due to the unfavorable belt angle from the anchors over the hip. A concept is discussed that dynamically moves the anchors in rear impacts to provide early belt restraint.