Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vest and harness may protect fragile adults in car crashes

25.05.2004


Engineering seniors test their invention on high-tech crash dummy



When a car crash occurs, people with osteoporosis and other brittle bone disorders often suffer more serious injuries. To better protect these "fragile" motorists, three Johns Hopkins undergraduate engineering students have devised a harness and vest system that significantly reduced impact forces when tested on a high-tech crash dummy.

The students were responding to a challenge from the Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. "We estimate that as many as 13 million people with osteoporosis, osteogenesis impefecta (brittle bone disorder) and hemophilia need some additional protection from forces applied to the torso during a car crash," said Gary S. Sorock, an associate professor at the center. "The assignment was to design and test a restraint system that would reduce these forces, protecting the ribs and the sternum in particular."


During their two-semester Engineering Design Project course in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the team of three seniors addressed this problem. The team designed a vest filled with three layers of foam padding, each with a different density, to absorb some of the energy that causes a motorist’s chest to compress during a crash. In people with weakened bones, this compression can lead to broken ribs and other serious internal injuries. The students also replaced a conventional three-point shoulder belt with a four-point race car harness, which distributes the crash forces across a wider area of the body and keeps the body in a tighter fit against the seat.

In May, the students brought their system to the Impact Biomechanics Test Facility at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The staff assisted the students in conducting tests on a dummy that simulated a 108-pound woman, belted onto a sled moving at an average speed of 18.5 mph. The dummy was equipped with sensors to gauge the effect on various parts of the body during the equivalent of a 20-mph head-on crash or a 35- to 40-mph crash involving a moving car striking a parked vehicle. A high-speed camera mounted on the crash sled also captured closeup images of the dummy as it was jarred by the impact.

The students tested the dummy with a conventional shoulder belt alone, with a shoulder belt and their prototype foam-filled vest, with the four-point harness alone, and finally with both the harness and vest. When the dummy was outfitted with the vest under the conventional restraint, chest compression was reduced by approximately 8 percent (from 26.9 to 24.9 millimeters). Testing with the harness provided a different loading mechanism to the dummy torso and created much less sternum deflection (3.5 millimeters). Despite the reduced loading, the addition of the vest further decreased the sternal compression by 17 percent to 2.9 millimeters. The students also compared crash impact forces, measured from the seatbelt. This dropped from 644 pounds of force with the standard shoulder belt alone to about 436 pounds with the harness.

The student inventors, all seniors, were Richard Chen, a 21-year-old biomedical engineering major from Lexington, Ky.; Patrick Danaher, a 23-year-old mechanical engineering major from Bedford, Mass.; and Ryan Lavender, a 21-year-old mechanical engineering major from Atco, N.J. They were required to work within a sponsored budget of $8,000 but wound up spending only about $5,500 to produce the crash protection system.

"These students have done a very nice job of tackling a very difficult problem," said Andrew Merkle, an associate researcher at the Applied Physics Laboratory’s Biomechanics and Injury Prevention Office. Merkle supervised the students’ crash dummy tests.

"We were happy to see the reduction in blunt force upon the dummy using this system," Chen said. "The vest might also have some applications in helping to prevent injuries in sports like football or snowboarding."

Lavender agreed. "I think the vest has the potential to help a much wider audience than I originally thought," he said. "I can see it protecting older people and children from injuries."

Danaher enjoyed putting the knowledge he’d acquired in other engineering classes to use in the type of team project he may face soon in the working world. "The senior design course was incredible," he said. "It gives you the kind of hands-on challenge that many other college students don’t get the chance to experience."

The crash protection system was one of nine Johns Hopkins projects completed this year by undergraduates in the engineering design course. The class is taught by Andrew F. Conn, a Johns Hopkins graduate with more than 30 years of experience in public and private research and development. Each team of three or four students, working within budgets of up to $10,000, had to design a device, purchase or fabricate the parts, and assemble the final product. Corporations, government agencies and nonprofit groups provided the assignments and funding. The course is traditionally a well-received, hands-on engineering experience for Johns Hopkins undergraduates.

Phil Sneiderman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.me.jhu.edu
http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/audio-video/mediavest.html
http://www.jhsph.edu/InjuryCenter/index.html

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Experiments show that a few self-driving cars can dramatically improve traffic flow
10.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>