Crash safety work honored

Dec 1, 2006

Nathaniel Dennis was the first to receive a new award from Denton and TASS recognizing student engineering excellence at the Stapp Car Crash Conference.

Kettering senior Nathaniel Dennis, of Grand Blanc, Mich., was awarded the first "Crash Safety Engineering Student Excellence Award" at the 50th International Stapp Car Crash Conference in Dearborn Nov. 5.

The award, presented by R.A. Denton Inc. and TASS - TNO Automotive Safety Solutions, recognizes academic excellence and innovation in the area of occupant safety at Kettering University. It included a $500 scholarship.

Dennis, a Mechanical Engineering major with a Bioengineering applications concentration, was chosen to receive the award for his contributions to the area of crash test safety through his co-op employment at Takata Restraints Inc., producer of occupant safety systems for automobiles, in Auburn Hills, Mich.

"Nate is an exceptional student and has developed a new technology for Takata related to air bag design," said Dr. Janet Brelin-Fornari, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Crash Safety Center at Kettering.

"The companies that developed the award, R.A. Denton, maker of crash test dummies, and TASS, the creators and distributors of software for crash simulation, are both represented on our Crash Industrial Advisory Board," said Brelin-Fornari.

"This recognition is another way our corporate partners show support for the Crash Safety program at Kettering and the work we are doing in our facility, including involving undergraduates in real-world research," she added.

The International Stapp Car Conference is affiliated with the International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Colonel Stapp was a pioneer in crash safety research and founded the conference dedicated to crash safety, according to Brelin-Fornari. "People from all over the world attended the conference," she said, "it was quite an audience in which to be given the first Denton-Tass 'Crash Safety Engineering Student Excellence Award.' Nate was in good company."

"I felt honored to receive this award in front of Bioengineering industry leaders," said Dennis. "I was able to meet a lot of people I hope to work with during my career," he added.

Dennis first became interested in Bioengineering through his co-op assignment. "I work in the advanced air bag development group," he explained, "one of our areas of focus is to determine the mode of injury to people during a car crash and then design a countermeasure that will prevent that injury in the future. I enjoy studying how the human body reacts during different external influences," he said.

Scheduled to graduate in June 2007, Dennis plans to continue to work in the occupant protection industry and pursue a master's degree in Bioengineering.

Denton ATD, Inc. is a provider of anthropomorphic test devices (ATD's), commonly known as crash test dummies, and dummy laboratory calibration equipment. They focus their efforts on the vehicle safety industry with an emphasis on the automotive and aerospace markets.

TASS - TNO Automotive Safety Solutions offers MADYMO, the world's leading design and crash simulation software, engineering consultancy and physical crash testing in laboratory settings.

Written by Dawn Hibbard
810-762-9865
dhibbard@kettering.edu