Event Title

Absorbing the Force from an Accident through an Impact Attenuator

Location

CSU 201

Start Date

5-4-2010 1:00 PM

End Date

5-4-2010 3:00 PM

Student's Major

Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology

Student's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Mentor's Name

Gary Mead

Mentor's Department

Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering Technology

Mentor's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Description

An impact attenuator is a deformable, energy absorbing safety device required for the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineering) competition. The rules define that the attenuator must decelerate a frontal impact from a 661 lb vehicle run into a non-yielding impact barrier at a velocity of 23 ft/sec. The average vehicle deceleration must not exceed a force greater than 20 g’s, with a peak deceleration less than or equal to a force of 40 g’s. To determine the best energy absorbing material, factors like cost, weight and strength were taken into consideration. The two materials that were selected for testing were aluminum honeycomb and polystyrene high density foam. Calculations were done to determine what sizes of material would be sufficient to dissipate the energy. From these calculations, four foam pieces of varying sizes were selected along with one aluminum honeycomb piece. Testing had to be done to prove the calculations and determine which material and size would meet the Formula SAE rules while having the best cost to weight ratio. To do this, an apparatus was designed that held the attenuator in a material testing machine called a MTS. The MTS crushed the attenuator samples and registered the force on a computer. The force to crush each piece was collected and graphed. From this data, size and material were determined. After this, a decision was made on which material to use before making it and attaching it to the car.

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Apr 5th, 1:00 PM Apr 5th, 3:00 PM

Absorbing the Force from an Accident through an Impact Attenuator

CSU 201

An impact attenuator is a deformable, energy absorbing safety device required for the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineering) competition. The rules define that the attenuator must decelerate a frontal impact from a 661 lb vehicle run into a non-yielding impact barrier at a velocity of 23 ft/sec. The average vehicle deceleration must not exceed a force greater than 20 g’s, with a peak deceleration less than or equal to a force of 40 g’s. To determine the best energy absorbing material, factors like cost, weight and strength were taken into consideration. The two materials that were selected for testing were aluminum honeycomb and polystyrene high density foam. Calculations were done to determine what sizes of material would be sufficient to dissipate the energy. From these calculations, four foam pieces of varying sizes were selected along with one aluminum honeycomb piece. Testing had to be done to prove the calculations and determine which material and size would meet the Formula SAE rules while having the best cost to weight ratio. To do this, an apparatus was designed that held the attenuator in a material testing machine called a MTS. The MTS crushed the attenuator samples and registered the force on a computer. The force to crush each piece was collected and graphed. From this data, size and material were determined. After this, a decision was made on which material to use before making it and attaching it to the car.

Recommended Citation

Bruns, Eric and Chris Larson. "Absorbing the Force from an Accident through an Impact Attenuator." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 5, 2010.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2010/oral-session-05/2