In motor-vehicle crashes, young school-aged children restrained by vehicle seat belt systems often suffer from abdominal injuries due to submarining. However, the current anthropomorphic test device, so called “crash dummy”, is not adequate for proper simulation of submarining.
In this study, a modified Hybrid-III six-year-old dummy model capable of simulating and predicting submarining was developed using MADYMO (TNO Automotive Safety Solutions). The model incorporated improved pelvis and abdomen geometry and properties previously tested in a modified physical dummy. The model was calibrated and validated against four sled tests under two test conditions with and without submarining using a multi-objective optimization method.
A sensitivity analysis using this validated child dummy model showed that dummy knee excursion, torso rotation angle, and the difference between head and knee excursions were good predictors for submarining status. It was also shown that restraint system design variables, such as lap belt angle, D-ring height, and seat coefficient of friction (COF), may have opposite effects on head and abdomen injury risks; therefore child dummies and dummy models capable of simulating submarining are crucial for future restraint system design optimization for young school-aged children.
modeFRONTIER (ESTECO), a multidisciplinary and multi-objective optimization software, was coupled with MADYMO to conduct the optimizations in this study.