Investigating the injury risk in frontal impacts of Formula Student cars: A computer-aided engineering analysis

H. C. Davies, B. Gugliotta

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper presents a parametric study of the injury risk in collisions of race cars designed for the European Formula Student competition. The study is motivated by the fact that only a limited assessment of driver safety is required for this competition. The approach was to model a Formula Student car in a mathematical dynamic model environment. A parametric study was then carried out to investigate the sensitivity of injury to various system variables. These were the crash pulse, the occupant stature, and the occupant posture. These system variables, under close examination, can be changed to alter the occupant kinematics or, in other words, they change the injury risk. The results of the analysis showed that the risk of injury in a frontal impact was dependent on the system variables. The risk of an abbreviated injury scale (AIS)2 + injury was 22.3 per cent in the baseline constant-g test, increasing to 35.2 per cent in the worst case. For AIS3 + the values were 5.1 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. The study also showed that the occupant restraint conditions in a Formula Student car had a significant influence on the distribution of the injury risk between the body regions. The variation in the injury risk highlighted by this study, both in absolute terms and in the distribution between the body regions, showed that there are limitations to the use of vehicle kinematics in their current guise as a predictive tool for the injury risk. The results of this study represent a significant step in the understanding of the injury risk in a Formula Student frontal impact.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-193
    Number of pages13
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


    • Crash pulse
    • Formula SAE
    • Formula Student
    • Frontal impact
    • Impact attenuator
    • Injury criteria
    • Mathematical dynamic model

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering


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