Computational pregnant occupant model, 'Expecting', for crash simulations

2014-06-20T13:34:04Z (GMT) by Serpil Acar David W. van Lopik
A computational model of the pregnant occupant, which is capable of simulating the dynamic response to acceleration impacts, is introduced. The occupant model represents a 5th percentile female at around the 38th week of pregnancy. A finite element uterus and multi-body fetus is integrated into an existing female model to incorporate pregnant female anthropometry. The complete model, ‘Expecting’, is used to simulate a range of frontal impacts of increasing severity from 15 km/h to 45 km/h. Three levels of occupant restraint, completely unrestrained, three-point seat belt, and three-point seat belt with an airbag, are investigated. The strains developed in the uterus because of loading from the seat belt and steering-wheel unit are presented, together with an analysis of stress distribution due to inertial loading of the fetus on the uterus. The unrestrained cases are shown to be the most dangerous to the fetus, owing to the large interaction with the vehicle steering wheel at the level of the placenta. The use of a three-point seat belt together with a driver airbag appears to offer the greatest protection to the fetus.