In the U.S., more than 27,000 catastrophic and fatal injuries occur annually in rollover crashes. Due to the incidence and severity of injuries in rollover crashes, a strategy for injury mitigation is dynamic compliance testing with dummy-occupied vehicles and occupant protection requirements, similar to that required for frontal and side impacts. Presently, there are dynamic vehicle rollover test devices like the Controlled Rollover Impact System and the Jordan Rollover System that realistically recreate real-world rollover crash scenarios. However, the Hybrid III dummy, which is considered to be the best available human surrogate for dynamic rollover tests, has a very stiff neck with limited biofidelity in rollover crashes; the Hybrid III neck is much stiffer than the human neck. Catastrophic human head or neck injuries resulting from roof interaction and partial ejection in real-world rollover crashes are poorly replicated by dynamic rollover tests with the non-biofidelic Hybrid III dummy neck. Only with a more biofidelic dummy can effective testing result in injury mitigation in rollover crashes.

This study is part of an ongoing research project aimed at mitigating catastrophic human neck injuries in real-world rollover crashes. The goal was to develop a biofidelic neck assembly for the Hybrid III dummy in rollover crash environments. The design goals of this prototype neck included decreased stiffness and a mechanism that represents the unknowable human muscle tension in rollover crash environments.

This paper and its companion paper in this conference introduce the new neck design, present results of matched-pair tests that compare the responses of the new neck with the production Hybrid III neck, and propose preliminary rollover injury criteria for this neck. The neck demonstrates repeatability, improved biofidelity, which results in more realistic occupant kinematics, dynamics, injury prediction, and evaluation of various countermeasures.

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