Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Computational Engineering Research: Utilizing Modeling and Simulation

CIRP researchers use computational modeling.
Dr. Aditya Belwadi uses computational modeling in many of his research studies.

Mathematical modeling and computer simulations have proven to be effective in injury prevention and research, as it allows for the exploration of many more scenarios than could be explored with human subjects. In addition, the use of anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs), or crash test dummies, in physical crash tests is expensive and provides data for only a single mode of impact at a time. The Center’s computational engineering research focuses on understanding complex physical and biological systems and their behaviors using an array of finite element (FE) models and rigid body models of the human body, ATDs, and vehicles. Using mathematical analysis, modeling and simulations, the computational engineers' research approach complements traditional laboratory-based research methods utilized  by the Center's other researchers.

The Center's modeling and simulation engineering methods use the data from surveillance, field investigation and biomechanical methods implemented by the Center’s other researchers to predict dynamics, kinematics, and injury mechanisms during a crash scenario. A number of “what if” situations can be analyzed using this methodology. These iterations aid researchers in visualizing and understanding the mechanisms of occupant injuries and their interactions with the restraint systems. Findings may then be used for the design of new products to mitigate the risk of injury.

Capabilities and Expertise

The figure below highlights the broad array of tools the computational engineering team utilizes in CIRP research focusing on ATD/human body finite element models.

Modeling and Simulation Research in our Programs:

  • An Analysis of the Interaction between Child Occupants and Deploying Frontal Passenger Air Bags- A Modern Examination
    This project utilizes computational modeling to explore and quantify the injury potential for children in front of a deploying modern front passenger air bag for those in forward-facing child restraints and booster seats across a range of misuse conditions and crash scenarios.
  • Analysis of the Response of Shield-based Child Restraints with Human Body Models
    This project explores and builds upon the first open source human body finite element model of a 6-year-old, PIPER, to understand responses in a shield child restraint. Responses of the PIPER model will be compared to a traditional 6-year-old Q series dummy.
  • Evaluating the Efficacy of Belt Positioning Booster Seat Design (High-back, Low-back and Height-less Booster) in Frontal and Far Side Oblique Impacts
    This study examined ATD kinematics and kinetics as a function of variability of booster seat design and impact direction. The focus was on evaluating the effect of various routing configurations for booster seat designs on the protection afforded in far-side impacts – both lateral and oblique crash modes. The data generated from this project may benefit child seat and vehicle manufacturers, as well as policymakers and the public, as newer restraint technologies to mitigate injury in pediatric occupants are developed.
  • Quantifying CRS Fit in Vehicle Seat Environment: Digitization Approach
    In this multi-year project, researchers developed a methodology for digitization of child restraint systems (CRS) using the Microsoft Xbox Kinect Sensor™. Virtual surrogates were created of nearly 290 commercially available CRS as of April 2016, allowing vehicle manufacturers to understand the breadth of CRS dimensions and take them into account when designing new vehicles.
  • Comparing FMVSS 213 Sled Test to the Full-scale Vehicle Crash Environment
    The long-term goal of this study was to determine the effect of geometric and material modifications to the FMVSS 213 bench on the ability of the bench, used in regulatory sled testing, to replicate a real vehicle seat in a crash. In the third and final year of this project, FE modeling was used to investigate the differences in booster seat performance on vehicle seats compared to the FMVSS 213 bench.