Kettering receives grant from TRW

Sep 2, 2004

Kettering University recently received a $20,000 grant from TRW Automotive (, headquartered in Livonia, Mich., that will help the institution further enhance its crash test safety curriculum.

Doug Campbell, vice president of Global Engineering for TRW, Steve Ridella, manager of the TRW Systems Performance Dept. and John Wilkerson, senior manager of Communications at the company, visited the University to present Kettering President James E.A. John with a check Tuesday, Aug. 31. This important contribution will assist Kettering Mechanical Engineering (ME) faculty in conducting the following two projects:

  • an educational project to incorporate knowledge of crash testing sensors and signal analysis into the newly created ME course, Vehicle Crash Dynamics and Accident Reconstruction. ME faculty members Janet Brelin-Fornari and Massoud Tavakoli will conduct this project; and
  • a research project on finite element simulation of the crash of cars to trucks known as "underride," conducted by ME faculty members Massoud Tavakoli and William Waldron.

In addition, TRW brought along an Active Control Retractor (ACR) crash simulator during their Aug. 31 visit to campus, which looks like a car on a sled device that replicates the impact of a frontal collision at 6.5 mph. The ACR is the first device to integrate active and passive systems in automobiles and offers enhanced driving safety to occupants by detecting high-risk driving situations. Specifically, this breakthrough helps stabilize both driver and passenger, and potentially reduces or prevents out-of-position situations during the pre-crash phase. TRW introduced the technology in the 2003 Mercedes Benz S-class vehicles and the company won five international safety awards based on this system. Campbell also gave a talk during this visit to students on the subject of climbing the corporate ladder. More than 80 students, faculty and staff attended this discussion.

In January of this year, TRW also contributed $12,500 to theKettering Crash Safety Lab. Kettering submitted a formal proposal for the current grant to the company's Community Relations Fund in the area of higher education during the spring and received word of the winning grant this past summer.

TRW Automotive is one of the global leaders in automotive safety systems and designs, and develops and produces a broad array of active and passive safety products for the automotive industry. With 2003 sales of $11.3 billion, TRW Automotive ranks among the top 10 automotive suppliers in the world and through its subsidiaries employs approximately 61,000 people in 22 countries.

The visit of TRW was co-sponsored by Kettering's Student Alumni Council (SAC) and Kettering's chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). For more information on Kettering's Crash Safety Lab, contact Janet Brelin-Fornari at (810) 762-7843, or via e-mail at

Written by Gary J. Erwin
(810) 762-9538