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Proceedings Paper

Smart impact management devices: experimental validation of impact triggered rapid expansion of aluminum honeycomb
Author(s): Alan L. Browne; Nancy L. Johnson; Scott R. Webb
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Paper Abstract

A major limitation of current dedicated impact energy management structures and passive devices used in the transportation industry is that their starting volume is their maximum volume, i.e. they dissipate energy by crushing or stroking from a larger to a smaller volume. This space so occupied is not available for other uses, including such necessary/desirable functions as vehicle serviceability and repair, operational clearances, and interior spaciousness. This limitation has led to the proposal of a class of "smart" impact energy management devices, based on unexpanded aluminum honeycomb (HOBE), that initially occupy a small volume and based on sensor input are rapidly expanded to a much larger crushable volume (nominally 75 times greater) just prior to or in response to an impact. This paper documents the first portion of an experimental exploration of the viability of this technology. Specific goals of the herein documented test program were the demonstration, starting from blocks of unexpanded aluminum honeycomb, a) of the feasibility (and robustness) of sensor triggered rapid expansion both in terms of the integrity and uniformity of the resulting expanded honeycomb, and b) that expansion mechanisms that were required could be simple and have low energy/force requirements. The test program documented here was successful in both respects, demonstrating and thus validating the feasibility and robustness of low energy rapid expansion of aluminum honeycomb.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 March 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6173, Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, 61730J (17 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.641529
Show Author Affiliations
Alan L. Browne, General Motors Research and Development Ctr. (United States)
Nancy L. Johnson, General Motors Research and Development Ctr. (United States)
Scott R. Webb, General Motors Research and Development Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6173:
Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems
Yuji Matsuzaki, Editor(s)

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