Several types of energy absorbers were tested on a sled simulating a crash deceleration using instrumented, seated erect dummies and cadavers. The energy absorbers were mechanical load limiting devices which attenuated the impact by yielding or tearing of metal. Their principal effects were to reduce the peak deceleration sustained by the occupant with the expected reduction in restraint forces. Constant load level energy absorbers were found to be unattractive because they can easily “bottom out” causing forces and body strains which could be much higher than those without absorbers.
Head accelerations were significantly reduced by the energy absorbers as well as some body strain. However, spinal strains in the cadaver were not significantly reduced. They appear to be not only a function of the peak deceleration level but also of the duration of the pulse.