Crash Safety Center opens Aug. 25

Aug 12, 2005

Kettering's one of a kind crash safety curriculum will shift into high gear as the Crash Safety Center opens for business Aug 25.

Whoosh! Crash! Wow!

The Crash Safety Center at Kettering University will officially open Aug. 25. The walls are up around the deceleration sled, the safety glass is in place and the instrumentation to read crash results is being installed. Soon undergraduate and graduate students will be able to participate in hands-on crash test safety research as part of the Mechanical Engineering program at Kettering.

Come to the Open House: Thursday, Aug. 25, 12:30-3 p.m.

An Open House and Community Reception will be Thursday, Aug. 25, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the Center, located in the lower level of the C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center. The greater Flint community is invited to tour the lab facility and talk with Kettering faculty and students.

Dr. Janet Brelin-Fornari, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, is directing the Crash Safety Center. She said Kettering's Center will give future engineers a better understanding of how to protect occupants, especially children, during automobile accidents. Research in the Center will make automobiles and other other forms of transportation safe for everyone, especially children and infants.

While the focus of the Center is to study the interaction between structural crash mechanics (what happens to the vehicle during a crash) and occupant protection (what happens to the people inside), it is also part of a larger vision which includes a Bio-Engineering curriculum, currently under development, and a Crash Safety Industrial Advisory Board, Brelin-Fornari said.

In addition to augmenting curriculum and research opportunities at Kettering, The Crash Safety Center will provide resources for community education programs including research to be conducted for AAA Michigan on an improved design for child/infant seats, Kettering pre-college programs, industry consulting projects and product development.

"The Crash Safety Center has three components: a deceleration sled, a component test area, and a dedicated computer based classroom," she said.

The deceleration sled is a large piece of test equipment on which the interior of the vehicle (also known as a "buck") is placed along with test dummies, vehicle safety systems (airbags, seat belts), instrumentation and high-speed video. The buck is propelled down a track up to 42 mph and is decelerated using pneumatics to simulate the abrupt stop during a crash.

The component test area allows for the study of impact on specific pieces, such as a crash test dummy's head or legs. Lastly, the computer classroom allows students to review data from the test instrumentation and learn how to set up and perform virtual crash tests. Undergraduates will use the lab through the Mechanical Engineering Occupant Protection course and Collision Reconstruction course. Also, Kettering will implement a lab component to Physics I for classroom works.

"The lab is multi disciplined," explained Brelin-Fornari, "so faculty from Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Science and Mathematics, including Physics and Chemistry, will use the lab for research."

An important resident of the Center is a crash test dummy named SpartaKUs, donated by Robert A. Denton, Inc. of Rochester Hills, Mich. SpartaKUs is a 50th percentile male anthropomorphic test device (ATD). The crash test dummy offers a hands-on element to the crash safety curriculum.

The construction and equipping of the Crash Safety Center is possible through support from:

General Motors,
Dane and Mary Louise Miller,
AAA Michigan,
AMG Foundation,
Callaway Golf,
Crash Lab Support,
Global Testing and Engineering Services, Inc. ,
Grand Blanc Cement,
Harley Davidson Motor Company,
Hewlitt Packard,
Jonhson Controls,
Kettering University,
McNaughton McKay,
Photron (Motion Engineering) ,
R. A. Denton,
State of Michigan,
TRW and

For more information on Kettering's Crash Safety Center, contact Dr. Janet Brelin-Fornari at (810) 762-7843.

Written by Dawn Hibbard
(810) 762-9865