Investigation on seat structural integrity and occupant safety in coach rollover
Motor coaches are an integral part of the transportation system. It was observed that occupant fatalities and serious injuries occur in rollover more frequently than in any other type of accidents for these vehicles. Several regulations such as Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 66 (ECE R66) are issued to minimize the catastrophic consequences of rollover accidents. Passing “Motorcoach safety plan” which is based on a complete vehicle rollover test of ECE R66 will be mandatory in North America in the near future. However, the cost of a single physical test encourages researchers to perform numerical simulations prior to a complete vehicle rollover test. In this thesis, the integrity of a coach seat and the effects of different restraint configurations on the safety of passengers in rollover are numerically studied. To perform this research, a new modeling approach, which is computationally effective and highly suitable for parametric studies, is proposed. Firstly, a detailed model of two seats of a coach is developed and validated against experimental results. Anthropomorphic Test Devices are then introduced to the model and acceleration history of a physical rollover test is imposed on the system. The model is solved using non-linear explicit dynamic Finite Element code LS-DYNA®. Injury criteria values are extracted and compared to the experimental results. An acceptable level of correlation is achieved that confirms the validity of the model and the reliability of the modeling approach. The integrity of the seat in a rollover is analyzed showing the necessity of an anchorage test prior to a whole coach rollover test. The results of a parametric study on the safety of passengers reveal the high probability of partial ejection if the retractor does not lock properly in a rollover. It is also shown that the safety of occupants can be improved if retractor pretensioners be introduced to coaches.