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C.R. Bass

S.M. Duma

J.R. Crandall

S. George

University of Virginia

S. Kuppa

Conrad Technologies Inc.

N. Khaewpong

E. Sun

R. Eppinger

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

United States

Paper Number 98-S7-O- 12


This study examines and compares the response of

two upper extremity test devices under driver-side air bag

deployment to contribute to the development of dummy

surrogates for the investigation of primary contact

forearm injuries during air bag deployments. The first of

these test devices, the SAE 5’ Percentile Female Arm

(SAE Arm), is an anthropomorphic representation of a

small female forearm and upper arm that is instrumented

with load cells, accelerometers and potentiometers to

enable the determination of upper extremity kinematics

and dynamics. The second, the Research Arm Injury

Device (RAID), is a simple beam test device designed for

detailed investigation of moments and accelerations

resulting from close contact in the initial stages of air bag

deployment. The RAID includes strain gauges distributed

along its length to measure the distribution of moment

applied by the air bag deployment.

The study used four air bags representing a wide

range of aggressivities in the current automobile fleet.

The upper extremity position was a ‘natural’ driving

posture when turning left with one hand across the

steering wheel. The forearm was positioned directly on

the air bag module with the forearm oriented

perpendicular to the air bag module tear seam. For the

SAE Arm, the humerus was oriented normal to the

steering wheel. Tests with the SAE Arm were performed

both with the arm attached to a 5’ Percentile Female

Hybrid III dummy and with the arm mounted to a

universal joint test fixture. TheRAID was mounted to an

articulated test fixture. In addition to the dynamic tests, a

detailed comparison of the inertial properties of each of

the test devices with the inertial properties of a typical

small female was performed.

Forearm response from both test devices confirmed

the levels of air bag aggressivity determined using

previous cadaveric injury results. In addition, logistic risk


functions for forearm fracture were developed using

existing cadaver studies and the moment response of each

test device. These risk functions indicate that for 50%

risk of ulna or ulna/radius fractures, the SAE arm peak

forearm moment is 61 N-m (+/- 13 N-m standard

deviation) while the RAID peak forearm moment is 373

N-m (+/- 83 N-m standard deviation). For 50% risk of

fracture of both the ulna and the radius, the SAE arm

peak dummy forearm moment is 91 N-m (+/- 14 N-m

standard deviation) while the RAID peak forearm

moment is 473 N-m (+/- 60 N-m standard deviation).


Although the use of air bag systems as supplemental

restraintsh as significantly decreasedth e risk of fatality in

automobile collisions, there is evidence of increased risk

of non-fatal injuries including burns, abrasions, and eye

injuries owing to air bag deployment. In addition, case

studies suggest that upper extremity injuries, including

severe fractures, may be caused by air bag deployment

[c.f. Marco 1996, Freedman 1995, Huelke 1995,

Kirchoff 1995, and Roth 19931. Kuppa et. al. analyzed

several accident databasesto determine the incidence of

upper extremity injury for accidents with and without a

driver-side air bag deployment [Kuppa 19971. They

found that 1.1% of drivers who were restrained only by a

seatbelt experienced an upper extremity injury. In

contrast, 4.4% of drivers experienced upper extremity

injuries in the presence of a deploying air bag.

Two modeso f injury have been suggestedto explain

this increased incidence of upper extremity injuries with

air bag deployment. The first type is a flinging type of

injury in which the air bag propels the arm into an object

in the vehicle (e.g. b-pillar, roof, and occupant’s head).

The second type is primary contact with the air bag or air

bag flap; this injury may occur, for example, while

executing a left turn with a continuous motion of the right

hand, placing the forearm directly over the module. It is

the latter group, primary contact injuries, that is the

subject of the current study.

Case studies and NASS data suggest that these

severe upper extremity injuries occur predominantly in

women. It may be hypothesized that this represents the

effects of three factors: 1) as women are generally shorter

in stature than men, they drive closer to the steering

wheel/air bag module, 2) women experience an agerelated

loss of bone mineral density, and 3) women have

generally smaller bones and, hence, lower ultimate bone


To investigate the upper extremity/air bag

interactions causing these injuries, Saul et al used an

instrumented 50’i’ Percentile Male Hybrid III upper

extremity to examine injury from direct contact [Saul

19961. Using strain gauges and accelerometers, they

found that bending moments and accelerations of the

forearm could be accurately recorded. Moreover, a

correlation was found between these values and the air

bag’s inflator properties, flap, and steering wheel

orientation. In addition, the forearm bending moment

response of the instrumented SAE 5’h Percentile Female

Arm (SAE arm) under primary air bag contact has been

correlated with cadaveric injury to produce an injury risk

function for small females [Bass 19971.

In addition, the Research Arm Injury Device

(RAID) was developed by Conrad Technologies Inc. and

NHTSA to investigate the interaction between a

deploying air bag and an upper extremity in close

proximity to the air bag [Kuppa 19971. They found that

the two most significant determinants of peak measured

bending moment were the orientation of the arm with

respect to the air bag module and the separation distance

between the two. Maximum moments were recorded

when the forearm was positioned perpendicular to the air

bag module. This situation occurs, for example, when

making a left turn with the right hand. In,this situation,

the right and left sides of the air bag are at the 1 and 7

o’clock positions respectively, while the hand and elbow

are at the 10 and 4 o’clock positions respectively. The

maximum moments also decreased as the distance

between the air bag and the forearm was increased from

1.3 cm to 7.6 cm.

It is likely that a specific air bag design is developed

with a view toward total restraint system effectiveness.

As different passenger automobiles have different

physical sizes and stiffness, this results in installed air

bags of different deployment properties (e.g. pressuretime

histories, module design, and deployment

characteristics) among vehicle models. Four OEM air

bag types were used in this study; these air bags were

identified using RAID testing as representing a wide

range of aggressivities in the current passenger car fleet.

Using a previously created coding scheme [Bass 19971,

these systems are termed System H, System K, System J,

and System L air bags. The System H and System K air

bags produce relatively more aggressive air bag

deployments, the System J air bag produces a moderately

aggressive deployment, and the System L air bag

produces a relatively less aggressive deployment. In

addition, the System H air bag has been identified in case

studies as producing primary contact upper extremity

injuries under certain circumstances.

The principal goal of this study is to examine the

suitability of both the SAE arm and the RAID in

characterizing the forearm forcing during air bag primary

contact using OEM air bag systems. In addition, this

study quantifies the dynamic response of dummy upper

extremities under air bag deployment in a ‘worst-case’

position. Also, the study investigates factors that affect

injuries in cadaveric upper extremities and develops a

correlation of these injuries with dummy response using

the SAE Arm and the RAID. As there are a number of

design factors that may influence the upper extremity

injury potential of a given air bag, including inflator

properties, air bag properties and module properties, we

have chosen to focus on dummy and cadaveric response

criteria as the most effective measure of injury risk.

The testing was performed in two major parts. The

first includes tests of the RAID test device under air bag

deployment in a representative ‘worst-case’ position for

air bag deployment. The second is a study of the same set

of deploying air bags into the SAE arm mounted on a

Hybrid III dummy and tests with the SAE arm attached to

a universal joint arm fixture developed for cadaveric

studies [Bass 19971. This second series of tests involves

forearm positioning similar to that prescribed for the

RAID testing.


Several instrumented dummy arms exist that are

appropriate for use in arm/air bag interaction studies;

these include the 50% Male Hybrid III Instrumented Arm

[Saul 1996, Johnston 19971, the Research Arm Injury

Device (RAID) [Kuppa 19971, and the SAE 5fi Percentile

Female Instrumented Arm (SAE arm) [Bass 19971. As

the epidemiogical analysis of air bag-induced upper

extremity injuries suggests that small females suffer

injuries at a much greater rate than males, this study

investigates the use the SAE arm and the RAID as

suitable dummy surrogates for the development of risk

functions using previously reported small female

cadaveric injury studies [Bass 19971.

A diagram of the SAE arm is shown in Figure 1.

Pronation/supination of the forearm is provided by a



single degree-of-freedoma xial 360’ rotation in the wrist.

The forearm is a single shaft incorporating a six-axis load

cell located approximately mid-shaft. The elbow is a

single degree-of-freedom clevis joint allowing elbow

flexion/extension with a soft joint stop in each direction.

This elbow motion may be measured using a

potentiometer incorporated into the elbow. In addition,

strain gauges to measure two bending axes are located in

the distal humerus. The humerus is a single shaft with a

six-axis load cell approximately midshaft. At the

proximal end of the humerus, two degree-of-freedom

rotations are allowed by a 360’ axial rotation at the top of

the humerus shaft and a clevis joint at the shoulder. In

addition to the existing instrumentation on the SAE arm,

the current study addeda distal triaxial accelerometear nd

a single-axis MHD angular rate sensor mount located one

third of the distance from the wrist to the elbow.

Additional accelerometemr ounting locationsi n the elbow

were not used.

Motions allowed by the SAE arm listed in Figure 2

are approximately anthropomorphic with the exception of

pronationfsupination and shoulder motions. For

pronationlsupination, the existence of a single shaft

forearm limits both the availability and the utility of

forearm rotations located outside the wrist. Though the

predominant flexion/extension motions and upper

humerus rotations are represented in the SAE dummy

shoulder, the human shoulder has three degrees-offreedom

in rotation and limited translation that is not seen

in the dummy.

In contrast, the RAID, shown in Figure 3, has a

more limited range of motions. Developed as an

investigative tool to study primary contact arm/air bag

interactions, the RAID is constructed of a 3.2 mm thick

aluminum tube of 5 1 mm diameter with a two degree-offreedom

clevis joint to allow rotational motion along two

axes. The mass of the tube (1.6 kg) was chosen to

approximate a 50th percentile male human forearm. To

simulate the effects of a hand, a small additional mass

(0.5 kg) is attached to the free end of the RAID. The

length of the RAID was selected as 460 mm to protect the

pivot attachmentsf rom the deploying air bag. The RAID

instrumentation includes five stations of diametrically

opposed strain gages to measure moments along two

axes. In addition, rotations are measured by two angular

potentiometers,a nd triaxial accelerationsa re measureda t

the approximate mid-length of the RAID. The RAID is

covered with 20 mm of foam and rubber skin similar to

that on the Hybrid III mid-forearm.

As the RAID incorporates simple two-dimensional

rotation, the RAID simulates only the forearm degrees of

freedom associated with elbow flexiotiextension and

shoulder abductionladduction. So, while the RAID may

be appropriate for primary contact with a deploying air

bag, it is likely not appropriate for later interactions

involving additional upper extremity degrees of freedom.

Angular Rate Sensor Triax Elbow Joint

Accelerometer Triax


Strain Gauges



Elbow Joint i

Rotary Potentiometer”^‘W~W-~’

Angular Rate Sensor Triax

Accelerometer Triax

Figure 1. Picture of the SAE 5th Percentile Female Instrumented Arm (SAE Arm).


Axial Rotation,


AbductionlAdduction )y’-“‘-\,

Axial Rotation


AbductionlAdduction FlexionlExtension

Figure 2. Motions of the SAE 5th Percentile Female Arm.


(4 at each station)



/ Mounting Block (3 Accelerometers)

educed Diameter




Figure 3. Research Arm Injury Device (RAID).

A comparison of the segment masses of the SAE

arm and the RAID with the 5” and 50” percentile female

population are shown in Error! Reference source not

found.. The SAE arm is substantially heavier than the

reference 5” percentile female population but is similar to

the reference 50ti percentile female population. The

RAID, however, was designed to simulate a 50”


percentile male. So the RAID is substantially heavier

than the forearms of the reference female populations.

Reference forearm and hand lengths shown in

Error! Reference source not found. were derived from

an anthropometric study on 1905 USAF women

[McConville 19791. For the human population, the

forearm length is taken to be the distance from the tip of

the olecranon to the tip of the ulna styloid process, and

the hand length is the distance from the ulna styloid

process to the middle finger of the outstretched hand.

The dummy arm measurements are taken from the

rotation centers.

The total forearm/hand length of the SAE arm of

405 mm is comparable to the 5* percentile female length

of 397 mm but over 20 mm less than the forearm/hand

length of the reference 50ti percentile female. In contrast,

the total length of the RAID (460 mm) is much larger

than the forearm/hand length of the reference female

population and is comparable to the forearm/hand length

of a 50* percentile male population (491 mm) but

significantly larger than the forearm length of a 50”

percentile male population (299 mm). So, the SAE

dummy forearm is similar to a 5’h percentile female

population in length but a 50th percentile female

population in mass ,while the RAID is, by design, similar

to the 50th percentile male in mass and forearm/hand


Table I. Comoarison of Reference and Dummv Arm Anthrouometrv

Three-wire torsional pendulum studies were

performed on the segments of the SAE arm to determine

inertial properties in the principal axes. Axes of rotation

passing through the segment center of gravity define all

moments, and the reference female forearms are oriented

in the neutral position. The x and y principle axes of the

dummy and reference female forearms are approximately

normal to the anatomical axis running along the forearm.

The z principle axis is approximately tangential to this

axial axis. Moments of inertia were calculated for+ the

RAID assuming a uniform aluminum cylinder.

For primary contact injury under air bag

deployment, kinematics observed in previous dummy and

cadaver studies [c.f. Bass 19971 indicates that there is no

significant motion of the humerus prior to peak moments

or cadaveric injury. So, the inertial properties of the

upper arm are negligible in the investigation of surrogate

response under primary contact air bag deployment.

Also, the dynamic significance of pronatiotisupination

(axial rotation of the forearm) motions is minimal in

primary contact studies, so the principle moment of

inertia about the axial axis is of limited significance in

this study.

For the SAE arm, the influence of the mass of the

centrally located load cell on the x and y principle

moments of inertia is clear. Though significantly heavier

than the reference 5’h percentile female reference

population, the SAE arm has x and y moments of inertia

that are comparable to the reference 5’ percentile female

population. A significant portion of the mass of the SAE

forearm is included in this load cell. The z (axial)

moment of inertia of the SAE arm, however, is larger than

the 5’h percentile female owing to the size of the SAE

arm. In addition, owing to the substantial mass of the

SAE hand, principle moments of inertia in the x and y

axes are much larger than those of the reference 5’h

percentile female population, and are more comparable to

those of the 50” percentile female.

For the RAID, the length is significantly greater than

the forearm of either female reference population or that

of a 50* percentile male. So, the moment of inertia of the

RAID forearm segment is substantially larger than that of

either reference female population. In air bag tests, this

’ [McConville 19791

* RAID is single segment.


moment of inertia (z axis) of 1040 kg-mm2 is

Table 2. Principle Moments of Inertia

will likely result in lower peak velocities and possibly commensurate with a 50* percentile male value of 1180

much larger moments. This imposes an additional kg-mm2 [McConville 19791. The ‘hand’ mass of the

limitation on the use of the RAID in the investigation of RAID can be considered to be concentrated at the end of

‘flinging’ injuries in which maximum velocity plays an the RAID for the purpose of this study as the test device

important role in injury mechanics. The RAID axial allows only rotations about the other end.


Both the RAID and the SAE arm attempted to attain

a ‘worst-case’ test condition and hence a ‘worst-case’

response under air bag deployment. The test position

selected is roughly a ‘natural’ driving position in a onearmed

left turn maneuver modified for enhanced

repeatability and ‘worst-case’ behavior. The SAE

forearm was placed directly on the air bag module with

the forearm oriented perpendicular to the air bag tear

seam as shown in Figure 4. The distal third of the SAE

forearm was placed over the module tear seam, and the

humerus was oriented normal with respect to the plane of

the steering wheel. In this configuration, the dummy

fingers do not reach the steering wheel for any of the

OEM air bags tested. Positioning was maintained using

frangible tape.

This position represents the ‘worst case’ or most

vulnerable position for four reasons. First, previous

RAID testing indicated that bending moments were

maximized when the test device was oriented

perpendicular to the air bag tear seam [Kuppa 19971.

Second, RAID bending moments under air bag

deployment were found to decrease as the test device was

moved away from the module. Though the RAID was

placed at distances 13 mm and greater from the air bag

module, out-of-position thoracic testing [Melvin 1993,

Bass 19981 suggests that positioning directly on the air

3 [McConville 19791

bag module may constitute a worst case for certain

occupant/air bag interactions. Third, the distal third of

the human forearm is the weakest location in bending

with the lowest combined polar moment of inertia of both

the radius and ulna, providing the greatest risk of fracture.

Fourth, the humerus oriented normal to the steering wheel

provides a support for the forearm under air bag

deployment forcing the initial center of forearm rotation

to be about the elbow with a relatively long moment arm.




Figure 4. Test Configuration - Arm Relative to Steering


Eight of ten SAE arm tests were performed on a

universal joint test fixture diagrammed in Figure 5. The

fixture is comprised of two components. The first

supports the steering wheel/air bag module on a five-axis

load cell. The second mounts the arm to a four degree-of-


freedom universal joint. A five-axis humerus load cell

was mounted at the interface between the SAE arm and

the universal joint at the shoulder. For the fixture tests,

the center of rotation of the universal joint was located at

a position equivalent to the center of rotation of the

Hybrid III shoulder joint relative to the humerus. The

remaining two tests were performed with the SAE arm

attached to the Hybrid III 5’ percentile female dummy.

One possible objection to the use of the test fixture

is that, for experimental convenience, the location of the

point about which the shoulder rotates is fixed in space.

In a natural driving condition, the shoulder is relatively

free to translate in response to forcing. This

translationally fixed shoulder was examined using the

Articulated Total Body (ATB) lumped-mass simulation

program as shown in Figure 6. The figure shows a

comparison of the humerus axial force for a subject with a

shoulder fixed in translation versus a shoulder free to

translate under the action of a deploying air bag. There is

little difference in humerus response between the two

cases, especially in the crucial initial deployment period.

This result justifies using a shoulder that is fixed in

translation for the experimental setup.



I X -I

Airbae module I

Load cell Universal Joint

I 1 &eering Wheel

1 1 Fixture

Figure 5. Arm/Air Bug Test Fixture.

Figure 6. ATB Simulation of Fixed vs. Sliding Shoulder.

A side view of the test setup with the RAID is

shown in Figure 7. The RAID hangs vertically in front of

the steering wheel and rotates at the mounting pivots.

The test device may be translated in three dimensions to

achieve desired positioning with respect to the air bag

module. For this study, the distance from the surface of

the RAID to the plane of the steering wheel rim was set to

13 mm to achieve ‘worst case’ response. Positions closer

to the steering wheel were not investigated. The steering

wheel was oriented as shown in Figure 4 with the RAID

perpendicular to the air bag tear seam. As with the SAE

arm tests, a five-axis load cell was located behind the

steering wheel to measure reaction forces. The time of air

bag cover opening was determined using break wires over

the tear seam. In addition, a backstop with foam padding

was used to stop the RAID after the test.

Figure 7. Side View o/RAID.


q Peak Tank Pressure



Four OEM air bagst hat are representativeo f a wide

range of air bag aggressivities in the current automobile

fleet were used in the testing. These air bag systems, in

order of decreasing aggressivity identified in previous

RAID testing [Kuppa 19971, are denoted System K,

System H, System J, and System L. The air bags were

mounted in original equipment steering wheels

appropriate for the air bag tested. Inflator performance of

each air bag system from tank testing (60 L tank) is

shown in Figure 8. Tank tests for System J are not

available. Tests on the remaining inflators confirm the

ordering of aggressivity suggested in the RAID testing.

The SystemK inflator is very aggressivew ith a high peak

pressure and a high pressure onset rate. During this

study, several System K air bags burst around the vent

holes during deployment. System H inflators are also

very aggressive with peak pressures slightly lower than

those seen in System K inflators but with a high pressure

onset rate. The System L inflator is relatively nonaggressivew

ith a very low peak pressurea nd onsetr ate.










ap !


System K System H System L

Figure 8. Static Tank Pressure and Pressure Slope

Curves - Values Based on a 60 L Tank, Pressure Slopes

Derivedporn Maximum IO ms Values.

There are significant differences in the air bag

modules, especially the location of the module tear seam

as shown in Figure 9. The tear seams for the System K

and System L modules are approximately mid-way

between the top and the bottom of the module. In

contrast, the System H module has a very large and heavy

flap with a low tear seam. This large flap has been found

to provide some protection during the initial air bag

deployment to cadaveric arms under air bag deployment

[Bass 19971. System J has a relatively small vertically

oriented tear seam with wide side flaps. The air bags are

all similar in height and width, and the steering wheels are

similar in dimension. Only the System J air bag is



System K System L

System J

Figure 9. Sketches of Air Bag Module Covers Indicating the Tear Patterns.

Table 3. Characteristics of Air Bag Modules (All Measurements in mm)

Air Bag System System H System L System K System J I fl

Horizontal width of module

at seam


Distance from top of

module to seam

Thickness of flaps

Vertical height of air bag




Horizontal width of air bag 686 635 I 660 I 63.5

Number of tethers I 4 2 I 3 I none

Length of tethers I 267 279 I 318 I -_


23X 200

91 78

1 I



System K, System H, System J, and System L air

bags were each tested twice with the SAE arm mounted

on the test fixture used in previous cadaveric tests. In

addition to the fixture tests, one System H air bag and one

System L air bag were deployed into the SAE arm

mounted on a 5* Percentile Hybrid III dummy. For the

RAID, one test was performed using each of the air bag

systems in this study. In addition to these tests, several

repeatability tests were performed with the System K and

System J air bags.

A typical deployment for both test series begins with

a bulge in the air bag module following air bag initiation.

Then, the air bag deploys through a scored tear seam

oriented perpendicular to the forearm. In the initial stages

of air bag inflation with the SAE arm, there is no

significant humerus motion, and the forearm begins to

rotate about the elbow until it reaches the joint stop.

After the elbow reaches the joint stop, the humerus begins

rotating toward the center of the steering wheel. This

continues until the SAE arm hits the dummy in the

Hybrid III tests or the backstop in the fixture tests. For the

RAID, the deployment rotates the arm until the arm

contacts the padded backstop. For the SAE arm mounted

to the Hybrid III, there is no substantial shoulder

movement until the air bag deploys into the dummy chest.

Moment time histories from both test devices suggest that

the greatest forces on the forearm occur during the air bag

punch-out and shortly thereafter.

All air bags deployed normally except for one of the

System K air bags in the SAE arm testing. As seen in a

previous cadaveric test series [Bass 19971, the System K

air bag suffered large tears during the deployment

originating at the reinforced seam around the peripheral

vent holes. In spite of these holes, the air bag appeared

to inflate fully.

Peak resultant forearm bending moments for both

the SAE arm and the RAID are presented in Error!

Reference source not found.. For repeated tests within

each air bag system using the SAE arm, these moments

are consistent, showing a maximum difference of

approximately 10%. Peak humerus axial loads for the

SAE arm are not as consistent since they are associated

with the details of the air bag/elbow joint stop interaction

at times greater than injury times identified in cadaveric

tests. So, these peak humerus axial loads are not generally

relevant to primary contact injuries.

Peak moment values for the RAID are much larger

than those measured using the SAE arm. This is likely

the result of the RAID having greater mass and moments

of inertia than the SAE arm. In addition, the ordering of

aggressivity quantified using peak moments of the

System K and System H air bags is reversed in the RAID


from that found using the SAE arm. This is likely the

result of a heavier air bag module cover with a lower air

bag seam than the rest of the test devices. As the SAE

arm testing placed the distal third of the forearm on the

air bag tear seam while the RAID maintained uniform

radial placement with respect to the steering wheel, the

larger, lower flap of the System H air bag tends to

increase peak moments for the RAID relative to the SAE

arm. However, the peak moments derived from testing

using the SAE arm and testing using the RAID, compared

in Figure 10, show a correlation coefficient of 0.90

indicating similar peak moment response.


p 120.


E loo-






$ 6c- A


B 40- A



4 20.





200 300 400 500 600

RAID Peak Bending Moment (N-m)



Figure IO. Peak Forearm Moments of the SAE Arm and


Forearm moment time histories for each of the

systems tested are plotted in Figure II for the SAE arm

and in Figure 12 for the RAID. As expected, the peak

SAE arm forearm bending response of System K and

System H is significantly greater than that seen in System

J or System L. Large peak moments after 15 ms are

associated with the SAE arm elbow reaching the joint

stops. Interestingly, the peak forearm moments from the

System K tests are much earlier than those seen in the

System H tests. High-speed video analysis indicates that

while peak bending moments occur during module

cover/arm interactions for System K, the peak moments

for System H occur after the time that the arm interacts

with the module cover. This indicates that while the

module cover may play a role in injuries, module cover

interaction may not be necessary for such primary contact


For the RAID, the timing of forearm moment peaks

is similar to those found with the SAE arm. The System

K air bag has the earliest peak, and the System H air bag

has the latest peak moments. Though the order of peak

forearm moment was switched between System L and

System J air bags for the RAID and SAE arm, the timing

of these peak moments was similar. Both the SAE arm

and the RAID show peak moments for System H after the

time of arm/module cover interaction.

In contrast, with the System K air bag, the second

moment peak appears later for the SAE arm than for the

RAID. Because the acceleration of the SAE arm is much

greater than that of the RAID, the RAID is closer to the

inflator when the air bag emerges from the module cover,

producing earlier peak moments. The kinematics of the

SAE arm appear to be more consistent with cadaveric test

results. In addition, the SAE arm moment peaks generally

maintain the order of aggressivity found in previous

cadaveric testing.

As expected from the inertial properties, the peak

accelerations shown in Error! Reference source not

found. using the SAE arm are substantially larger than

the peak accelerations found using the RAID even though

the accelerometers were placed in similar locations. The

RAID has a 40% greater forearm/hand mass and nearly

ten times the forearm lateral moment of inertia. For the

SAE arm, the accelerations generally maintain the order

of aggressivity found in previous cadaver tests. The

relatively aggressive System K air bag demonstrated over

twice the peak forearm acceleration than the other three

air bag systems tested. The System H and System J air

bags showed comparable peak accelerations; however,

the more aggressive System H air bag delivered

approximately 10% more peak impulse to the distal

forearm than the System J air bag during the first 15 ms

of deployment. The similarity of peak accelerations with

dramatically different peak moments may be accounted

for by differences in air bag deployments between System

H and System J. From high-speed video, the System J air

bag appears to deploy in a smaller forearm area than do

the System H air bags. One likely source of this

difference is the lack of tethers in the System J air bag.

This concentration of air bag deployment may lead to

increased risk of fracture relative to a tethered bag. In

addition, the System H air bag deploys generally more

distally than the System J air bag when accounting for the

difference in SAE forearm position with respect to the

steering wheel. This effect is not present in the RAID

tests as the test device was not adjusted radially to

account for the differences in air bag tear seam location.

The less aggressive System L air bag demonstrated peak

accelerations and impulses that were substantially lower

than the other air bag systems.

Table 4. SAE Arm and RAID Peak Response Data



SAEarm 450 187 208 137

.(g’s) RAID 137 183 65 57


Humerus SAE Arm 2 110 1660 1680 940

lkxial I


Measured shear loads in the SAE dummy forearm

were relatively low, under 800 N for all tests. Such shear

loads are unavailable in RAID instrumentation. These

low forearm shear loads are likely the result of the center

of pressure of the air bag deployment being close to the

center of the load cell.


$ 80

E 0

= 60



; 40

10 15 20 25

Elapsed Time from Airbag Deployment (ms)

Figure 11. SAE Arm Midrhaft Forearm Resultant Bending Moment (Ail Signals Filtered to SAE CFC-600).




2P 500


6 400



z 300




0 P

-System K

-System H

- - . System J

--- System L

10 15 20

Elapsed Time from Airbag Deployment (ms)

Figure 12. RAID Midshaft Forearm Resultant Bending Moment (AI1 Signals Filtered to SAE CFC-600).


SAE elbow flexion is shown in Figure 13 under bending moments entering the joint stop. On the other

System H air bag deployment for typical dummy and hand, all dummy tests see the elbow reach the joint stop

cadaver tests. The two tests see peak flexion angles of later than 20 ms from the time of air bag deployment. As

approximately 50’ with similar timing. The minimal this time is much later than the time of primary contact

effect of the soft joint stop is seen in the System H tests. injury as determined in the cadaveric tests, the behavior in

The SAE arm enters the joint stop region of 40’ flexion at the joint stop is not relevant for research into primary

approximately 18 ms and reaches the limits of travel at contact injuries. So, although flexion to simulate a

approximately 23 ms. In contrast, the effect of the joint human elbow is not expected to be biofidelic with the

stop on the SAE arm is seen clearly in the System K air RAID, these results suggest that the lack of a biofidelic

bag deployment. The slope of the flexion is substantially humerus may not detract from use of the RAID as a

larger than that seen in the System H dummy tests, so the diagnostic device for investigation of primary contact air

arm attains larger velocities and hence larger forearm bag injuries.

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Elapsed lime from Airbag Deployment (ms)

35 40

Figure 13. SAE Arm - System H - Dummy vs. Cadaver Elbow Flexion and Dummy Forearm Moment (Moment Filtered to

SAE CFC-600, Flexion Angles Filtered to SAE CFC-1000).

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

Elapsed Time from Airbag Deployment (ms)

Figure 14. SAE Arm - System K - Dummy Elbow Flexion and Dummy Forearm Moment (Moment Filtered to SAE CFC-600,

Flexion Angles Filtered to SAE CFC-I 000).


Figure 1.5 shows the similarity of the responses of

System L air bag deployments into the SAE arm with the

arm on the dummy compared to the arm mounted to the

universal joint fixture. This suggests that such fixture

tests are appropriate for simulation of primary contact

arm/air bag interactions. The three tests show resultant

forearm peak moments that are within 14%, and the

timings of the initial peaks are within 2 ms. Similar

repeatability in the resultant forearm moments is seen in

the System H tests. These results provide additional

evidence that the use of the fixed test fixture with the

SAE arm is appropriate for investigation of primary

contact arm/air bag interactions.

In addition, with the System L air bag, we can

separate the effects of arm/flap and arm/air bag

interaction. The first peaks in bending moment are the

result of flap deployment into the arm, ending at

approximately 7 ms as identified from high-speed video

analysis. The second peaks, however, are solely the result

of arm/air bag interaction. These second peaks rival the

first in magnitude for each of the tests and have

substantially greater impulse.

For the RAID, the results of two repeatedt estsu sing

System K air bags are shown in Figure 16. The initial

peak in resultant moment in repeated tests using the

System K air bag shows only 3% difference in value and

0.1 ms difference in peak timing. In addition, the second

peak shows less than 10% difference in value with a 0.5

ms difference in peak timing. Additional repeated tests

with the System J air bag showed good repeatability in

both peak values and timing. So, both the RAID and the

SAE arm showed good overall repeatibility.




-System L -Arm On Dummy

n Fixture (Test 1)

0 5 10 15 20 25

Elapsed Time from Impact (ms)

Figure IS. SAE Arm - Forearm Resultant Moment - Arm

on Dummy vs. Arm on Fixture (Signals Filtered to SAE


600 __. System K-Test 1 !

0 5 IO 15 20 25 30

Elapsed Time from Airbag Deployment [ms)

Figure 16. RAID Repeatabiiity - Forearm Moment

Response for System JAir Bag Deployment.


Since the currently reported arm/air bag tests were

performed in nominally the same condition as previous

cadaveric tests [Bass 19971, we can correlate the injury

results from the cadaveric testing with the average peak

forearm bending moments resulting from air bag

deployment into the SAE arm and the RAID. This is

further justified by the strong correlation between the

peak forearm moment response of the SAE arm and the

RAID. For the forearm bending moments, we use all the

tests with the System K, System H, System J, and System

L air bags as seen in Error! Reference source not found..

For the cadaveric forearms, we limit the injury sample to

the 11 small female cadaveric subjects tested with the

same air bags on the SAE arm test fixture. For a model of

fracture/no fracture, the cadaveric response shows

complete separation at an average SAE arm peak forearm

moment value of 61 N-m. If, however, we assume a

polytomous process where the level of fracture in the

cadaveric tests is associated with the average bending

moment for the repeated tests with a given air bag, we

obtain the logistic regression for the probability of either

an ulna or an ulna/radius fracture for the SAE arm as

shown in Figure 27. The result is statistically significant

to p=O.O2T. he regressions uggestsa 50% risk of at least

one fracture at 67 N-m (+/- 13 N-m Standard Deviation)

forearm moment in the SAE arm under the same test

conditions. The risk of both radius and ulna fracture

using the same model for the SAE arm is shown in Figure

18. This curve suggests that there is a 50% risk of both

radius and ulna fracture at 91 N-m (+/- 14 N-m Standard

Deviation) peak forearm bending moment in the SAE

arm. For both logistic risk curves, the one standard

deviation confidence intervals are plotted.


Injury risk functions for the RAID using peak

moment values correlated with cadaver injury data are

shown in Figure 19 and Figure 20. These risk functions

indicate that for 50% risk of ulna or ulna/radius fractures,

the RAID peak forearm moment is 373 N-m (+/- 83 N-m

standard deviation). For 50% risk of fracture of both the

ulna and the radius, the RAID peak forearm moment is

473 N-m (+/- 60 N-m standard deviation). The results are

statistically significant to p = 0.06, and the one standard

deviation confidence intervals are plotted.

Table 5. Test Device Peak Bending Moments vs.

Cadaveric Injuries [Bass 19971.

Average Peak I

These risk functions for forearm fracture can be

analyzed using the available quasistatic ultimate bending

moments for isolated arm bones reported above.

Grouping all the available tests, we obtain a weighted

average value of 39 N-m for ulna ultimate strength.

Carter and Hayes [Carter 19761 suggest dynamic

dependence on strain rate of the form F oc &“06 where

F is a compressive ultimate load and E is the dynamic

strain rate. For our typical dynamic strain rates of 5 per

second, the Carter and Hayes strain rate dependence

results in 53% increase in ultimate strength for dynamic

bending as compared with UVa quasistatic ultimate

strength for the ulna. This is consistent with the

suggestion of Melvin and Evans [Melvin 19851 who

suggest an increase of 50% for dynamic ultimate strength

over quasistatic ultimate strength. Further, Schreiber et al

[Schreiber 19971 report a 68% increase in the dynamic

bending strength of the tibia over quasistatic tests at strain

rates of 5 per second.

So, if we assume 50% increase in the ultimate

strength of the isolated ulna, the dynamic bending

strength of the isolated ulna is approximately 59 N-m. If

we assume that the radius provides some support under

dynamic bending in the region of the distal third of the

forearm, the 50% risk of fracture at SAE dummy forearm

moments of 67 N-m seems quite consistent with the

quasistatic data. In addition, for a pronated subject arm,

we expect a forearm ultimate strength to be less than the

sum of the ultimate strengths of the radius and the ulna.

Dynamic drop tests presented above suggest that there

may be a 30% decrease in dynamic ultimate strength from

impact into a pronated arm as compared with a supinated

arm. If we assume that the ultimate strength of a

supinated forearm is approximately the sum of the

ultimate strength of the radius and ulna, we obtain a

weighted average ultimate forearm bending moment of 73

N-m under quasistatic conditions. Further, if we

compensate this value as above for the increase in

dynamic ultimate strength and for the decrease in ultimate

strength owing to arm pronation, we obtain an ultimate

dynamic bending strength of approximately 76 N-m for

the forearm in a pronated position. This compares well

with the 50% risk SAE arm moment value of 91 N-m for

forearm ulna and radius fractures. Given the nature of the

approximations above, there is a rough correspondence

between quasistatic bending results and the derived risk

functions for the SAE forearm.

Using this simple order of magnitude analysis, it is

clear that the moments measured in the RAID are far

larger than expected in small female human forearms

under primary contact from a deploying air bag.

However, the RAID was designed as a research tool to

investigate air bag aggressivity and primary contact air

bag injuries. As shown above, measurementst aken using

the RAID under air bag deployment can be successfully

correlated with both cadaver injury and more biofidelic

test devices.

0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140

SAE 8th X Female Resultant Forearm Moment (N-m)

Figure 17. SAE Arm - Risk of Ulna or Radius/Ulna



0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140

6AE 5th % Female Resultant Fonann Moment (N-m)

Figure I8. SAE Arm - Risk of Radius and Ulna Fracture.

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800

RAID MaxImum Resultant Forearm Moment (N-m)

Figure 19. RAID - Risk of Ulna or Radius/Ulna Fracture.

0 100 204 300 400 600 600 700 600

RAID Maximum Resultant Foreann Moment (N-m)

Figure 20. RAID - Risk of Radius and Ulna Fracture.


This study investigatedt he primary contactp haseo f

air bag deployment into dummy upper extremities using

four OEM air bags representativeo f a range of air bag

aggressivities in the current automobile fleet. This

aggressivity may be quantified using forearm moment

responseo f a dummy surrogatei n an appropriatew orstcase

position. Using this measure for primary contact

injuries, this study found the System K air bag and the

SystemH air bag to be relatively more aggressive,t he

System J air bag to be moderately aggressive, and the

System L air bag to be less aggressive.

Maximum momentsa nd accelerationsfo r both test

devices under air bag primary contact occur early during

air bag deployment. However, peak forearm moments

obtained using a System H air bag with the SAE arm

occurred after the time of significant module cover/arm

interaction. So, module cover interaction may not be

necessarfyo r injury with currentO EM air bags.

Both the RAID and the SAE arm were found to be

appropriatefo r examinationo f air bag aggressivityu nder

primary air bag contact. Results from previous cadaveric

tests suggest that primary contact injuries occur very

early, before significant elbow flexion occurs. This is

confirmed with moment and acceleration results from

both the SAE arm andt he RAID. This suggeststh at both

devices can be successfully correlated with cadaver

primary contact injury data.

There is, however, one significant potential caveat

with the use of the RAID for primary contact injuries into

smah female occupants. As the result of a large mass and

lateral moment of inertia, the kinematic responseo f the

RAID is dramatically different from both a human

forearm and the more biofidelic SAE arm. This is seen


clearly in the distal acceleration response of the RAID.

For all air bag systems, the acceleration was substantially

smaller than that seen with either the human forearm or

the SAE arm. So, tbe RAID will not generally be suitable

for the investigation of forearm moment response of

primary contact phenomena that depend on details in

timing of the arm/module cover/air bag interaction. In

addition, for the investigation of later phases of air bag

deployment, flinging, or occupant contact, the SAE arm is

more appropriate since its allowed motions are

approximately anthropomorphic.

A comparison of tests using the SAE arm mounted

to a Hybrid III dummy and the SAE arm mounted to a

universal joint test fixture show that the use of a

translationally fixed furture has minimal effect on forearm

response. So, either the SAE arm or the RAID may be

used in a fixed test furture for experimental convenience

without significant effect on primary contact response.

The dummy forearm moment obtained under air bag

deployment into tbe SAE arm and RAID correlates well

with injury levels observed in cadaveric testing with the

same upper extremity orientation. A logistic injury risk

function was developed for small females in the ‘worstcase’

position using the cadaveric injuries and the dummy

forearm moments. This risk fimction predicts a 50% risk

of ulna fracture at a SAE forearm moment of 67 N-m (+/-

13 N-m standard deviation) or a RAID moment of 373 Nm

(+/- 83 N-m standard deviation). The SAE arm value is

consistent with an extrapolation of quasistatic ultimate

bending strength of the ulna to dynamic conditions. As

the result of differences in mass and moments of inertia,

the moment value in the RAID is not expected to be

similar to those found using a more biofidelic small

female arm. In addition, we find a 50% risk of radius and

ulna fracture at a SAE forearm moment value of 91 N-m

(+/- 14 N-m standard deviation) that is consistent with the

combined bending strength of the radius and ulna in a

pronated position. A similar risk of two forearm fractures

is seen with a RAID peak forearm moment of 473 N-m

(+/- 60 N-m standard deviation).


The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and

guidance of Nopporn Khaewpong (NHTSA) and Rolf

Eppinger (NHTSA). This work was supported in part by

DOT NHTSA Cooperative Agreement DTNH-22-96Y-

07029, in part by DOT NHTSA Contract Number

DTHN22-92-D-07092, and by the University of Virginia

School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition,

the authors sincerely thank Honda R&D North America

for the use of the SAE 5” Percentile Instrumented arm.


[Bass 19971 C.R. Bass, S.M. Duma, J.R. Crandall, R.

Morris, P. Martin, W.D. Pilkey, S. Hurwitz, N.

Khaewpong, R. Eppinger, and E. Sun, The

Interaction of Air Bags With Upper Extremities,

SAE Paper 973324, 41st Stapp Car Crash

Conference, Orlando, Florida, 1997.

[Bass 19981 C.R. Bass, J.R. Crandall, and W.D. Pilkey,

A Fixture for the Investigation of Air Bag

Deployments into Out-of-Position Occupants,

Unpublished Manuscript, 1998.

[Carter 19761 D. Carter and W. Hayes, Bone

Compressive Strength: The Influence of Density

and Strain Rate, Science, 194: 1174, 1976.

[Freedman 19951 E.L. Freedman, M.R. Safian, and

R.A. Meals, Automotive Air Bag-Related Upper

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[Huelke 19951 D.F. Huelke, J.L. Moore, T.W.

Compton, J. Samuels, and R. Levine, Upper

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[Johnston 19971 K.L. Johnston, K.D. Klinich, D.A.

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[Jurist 19771 J. Jurist and A. Folitz, Human Ulnar

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[Kirchoff 19951 R. Kirchhoff, and S.W. Rasmussen,

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Taylor, R. Morgan, and R. Eppinger, RAID - An

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Extremity Interactions. SAE Paper Number

970399, SAE International Congress and

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[Marco 19961 F. Marco, A. Garcia-Lopez, C. Leon, and

L. Lopez-Duran, Bilateral Smith Fracture of the

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[Melvin 19931 J. Melvin, J. Horsch, J. McCleary, L.

Wideman, J. Jenson, and M. Wolanin,

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Bending Strength of the Leg, 1997 International

Ircobi Conference on the Biomechanics of

Impact, Hanover, Germany, September 1997.

United States of America , Traffic Safety

Date: 12/31/2013 10:17:16 AM

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