Estimating the vehicle crashworthiness experimentally is expensive and time-consuming. For these reasons, different modelling approaches are utilised to predict the vehicle behaviour and reduce the need for full-scale crash testing. The earlier numerical methods used for vehicle crashworthiness analysis were based on the use of lumped parameters models (LPM), a combination of masses and nonlinear springs interconnected in various configurations. Nowadays, the explicit nonlinear finite element analysis (FEA) is probably the most widely recognised modelling technique. Although informative, finite element models (FEM) of vehicle crash are expensive both in terms of man-hours put into assembling the model and related computational costs. A simpler analytical tool for preliminary analysis of vehicle crashworthiness could greatly assist the modelling and save time. In this paper, the authors investigate whether a simple piecewise LPM can serve as such a tool. The model is first calibrated at an impact velocity of 56 km/h. After the calibration, the LPM is applied to a range of velocities (40, 48, 64 and 72 km/h) and the crashworthiness parameters such as the acceleration severity index (ASI) and the maximum dynamic crush are calculated. The predictions for crashworthiness parameters from the LPM are then compared with the same predictions from the FEA.
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