Project: Summer Placement 04 - Meeting the requirements of automotive safety legislation and standards in a legislative environment

Reference: STP 8/11/16

Last update: 15/12/2005 10:47:56


Planned outputs:
Spreadsheet analysis/design software to aid materials comparison and selection for pedestrian friendly bumper systems.
Technical section of report, giving conclusions and recommendationson the potential for lightweight materials as pedestrian friendly structures in vehicles.
Report section on the perspective of the vehicle manufacturer/supplier and how they deal with the multi-legislative requirements and other constraintsin the design process for pedestrian protection structures.


Although the broad objective of this research study is to investigate and comment on the development of vehicle safety standards policy in a multi-legislative environment, the specific area of pedestrian safety has been chosen to provide a focus in the limited time available for the study (2 months). In particular, the proposer will draw on his experience in automotive lightweight structures over more than 10 years and recent research work in the engineering of such structures to minimise pedestrian injury. A number of tasks are proposed as follows :-

Task 1
Undertake a quantitative engineering study of a generic bumper system to assess the most appropriate material or material combination to meet the requirements of the EEVC WG17 lower leg pedestrian impact test. A comparative study of steel, aluminium, advanced composites and energy absorbing materials such as polymeric foams will be undertaken. Whereas time constraints will not permit a detailed geometric study, e.g. FEA, simplified analysis of the energy absorption and deceleration properties of generic beam-type structures will suffice. The effects of bumper compliance and height on the pedestrian full body motion during impact have already been investigated at Nottingham and elsewhere. The purpose of this study is to assess the most optimum material solutions to meet the required compliance and energy absorption characteristics. The task will also aim to provide more general recommendations for the design of future pedestrian friendly automotive front-end structures. A range of vehicle types will be considered including Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).

Task 2
Assessment of the impingement of other legislation and constraints on the solutions identified in task 1. In particular, the following will be considered:-

Other Pedestrian Safety tests e.g. upper leg and head
ELV Directive
Crash test standards / occupant protection
Insurance tests and standards
CO2 emissions and weight saving
Design requirements
Manufacturing costs

This assessment will include such aspects as current methodologies for arriving at a valued judgement on the optimum solution taking all factors into account and how automotive designers take these decisions. The balance between negative and positive impacts of legislation on materials/manufacturing choices will be considered. Specific reference to any conflicting legislation/regulations will be made. This investigation will be undertaken in the wider context of recent trends in body-in-white materials and mass. Consultation with one or two vehicle manufacturers and/or component suppliers, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd. (SMMT) and the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) will shape the conclusions from this task.


Nottingham University Consultants
Research Support and Commercialisation Office, Trent Building, Nottingham, NG7 2RD
0115 951 3633

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £15,000.00

Actual start date: 12 July 2004

Actual completion date: 07 February 2005

Summary of results

  1. The results of the work gave an indication of what design parameters would be necessary to produce frontal protection systems which met various levels of pedestrian-protection perfomance. This was in line with the desired outputs of the project. The analysis was based on established scientific/engineering principles and the results appear to be credible.