AFRY’s simulation contributes to safer seat belts for children
Together with Elaion and contributions from the Swedish Transport Agency's signage fund, AFRY has developed the basis for a patent-pending product that can significantly reduce damage to children in frontal crashes.
The number of injured and killed in traffic has dropped in recent years, but we are still far from vision zero, with 25,300 killed in the EU in 2017. The statistics can, in part, be explained by the serious injuries that can occur on the head, neck and chest in the event of a crash.
In order to minimize injuries to particularly children, AFRY has been assigned to conduct a kinematics study for optimizing load limits for forward-facing children in frontal crashes. A load limiter is the protective function that outputs the belt to reduce the strain on the chest when the force in a collision exceeds a certain threshold. It was introduced to adults as early as the mid-1990s to reduce damage to the ribs. But since children weigh less, they never reach the threshold that triggers the protection mechanism.
The results of the simulation models showed that the kinematically optimized load limiter gives almost half (48%) of the damage value on the neck and more than half (61%) of the injury value on the head.
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“The key that made the simulation model so successful was the team’s combined experience from both the automotive industry and crash testing”, says Jonas Zachrison, Head of Structural Mechanics and Project Manager in the assignment.
Thus, the optimisation yielded better values than initially thought, and the result is so interesting that Elaion went ahead with the patent application for a product based on the results from the model.
“Of course, it is a lot of fun with a satisfied client. For us, this assignment also meant that we broadened our experience to child safety in the automotive industry. In fact, it has already come in handy in another assignment where we helped a customer develop a new car seat that is about to be launched”, Jonas Zachrison reveals.