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Biomechanics of Older Drivers in Vehicular Crashes

Title: Biomechanics of Older Drivers in Vehicular Crashes.
Name(s): Fung, Kakit, author
Jung, Sungmoon, professor directing dissertation
Zeng, Changchun (Chad), university representative
Sobanjo, John Olusegun, 1958-, committee member
Tawfiq, Kamal Sulaiman, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, degree granting college
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Doctoral Thesis
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2017
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (104 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The aging population is expected to increase substantially in the future. The fatal crash rates (per mile traveled) involving older drivers (65+) are considerably higher than those of younger drivers. This research involved conducting computational experiments involving dummy models to investigate the biomechanics of older drivers in vehicular crashes. Before conducting these experiments, the concepts of biological changes in older populations needed to be addressed. This allowed us to first find out what makes the older drivers different from younger drivers. It was found that driving posture is one of the two key differences between the two age groups. The Hybrid III computational dummy model was used to investigate the effect of driving posture. The other key finding shows that older drivers are affected by aging factors such as material properties decrease and thickness decrease of bones. The Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) was used because it can be modified to represent an aged driver to be used in the crash simulations. For the posture investigation, the idea is that driving posture for older drivers tend to be closer to the steering wheel whereas younger drivers are more laid back was incorporated. All computational work was completed in LS-DYNA; a finite element code used for non-linear impact analysis. The Finite Element (FE) simulation was validated by comparing the FE results with physical crash test results. These results were found in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations (FMVSS) Report 208 for Frontal Crash Test. For subsequent simulations, posture changes based on the idea of aging according to literature review were implemented. For the Head Injury Criteria, the extended shoulders of an older driver yielded percent differences as high as 16%. The arms acted like braces to restrain the torso while the head continued forward. The extended knees also yielded a 16% increase in head injury. As for the chest acceleration, the extended hip and torso joints showed increased values. It was concluded that sitting closer was beneficial for the Head Injury Criteria but the opposite was true for the chest acceleration. The posture changes did not affect the pelvis acceleration. This investigation gave us a better understanding of what occurs in automobile accidents specific to older occupants. This knowledge can be useful in designing engineering approaches to mitigate injuries. Using the aged model, the material properties decrease yielded the highest chest deflection of 13.3%. For the bone thickness decrease, the chest acceleration showed the highest increase of 12.5%. The head acceleration and chest deflection showed noticeable increases. Overall with all three aging factors in place, the head and chest accelerations yielded high increases. Whereas for the deflection, it remains the same. The thoracic rotation increased the head resultant acceleration. The rotation decreased the deflection of the thorax because the ribs were more in line with the force imposed by the crash. It can withstand more force when the ribs are more parallel with the force. As for the chest acceleration, no significant change was present. It can be concluded that the older drivers in rear impacts experienced higher (Neck Injury Criterion) NICmax than younger drivers as much as 6.9% percent for the material property decrease and bone thickness decrease. The thorax rotation yielded a 4.7% decrease in NICmax. It is possible that this aging factor caused the thorax to conform more into the seatback thus reducing the injury. The bone thickness decreased affected the NICmax greatly whereas the material property decreased did show signs of minimal positive influence. The material property decreased yielded 0.8% increase while the thickness decreased yielded a 3.0% increase.
Identifier: FSU_FALL2017_Fung_fsu_0071E_14227 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester 2017.
Date of Defense: November 8, 2017.
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Sungmoon Jung, Professor Directing Dissertation; Changchun Zeng, University Representative; John Sobanjo, Committee Member; Kamal Tawfiq, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Civil engineering
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Fung, K. (2017). Biomechanics of Older Drivers in Vehicular Crashes. Retrieved from