The Hybrid III 5th percentile female dummy and seven small female cadavers were instrumented and tested as out-of-position drivers in static air bag deployment tests. Tank test pressure profiles were used to characterize inflator peak pressures and pressure onset rates of two production air bags and a prototype dual-stage system prior to their use in the static deployments. In the out-of-position tests, the chest of die surrogate was positioned in direct contact with the air bag module in an effort to create a worst-case loading environment for the thorax. For the cadavers, post-test radiographs and autopsy investigations identified rib fractures as the most common injury and showed that the number of fractures correlated well with maximum chest compression. The Viscous Criteria exceeded 1.0 m/s in nearly all dummy and cadaver tests but did not correlate well with the severity level of observed cadaver injury which was largely determined by hard-tissue rather than soft-tissue trauma. Statistical analysis of the injury, severity relative to the air bag and test parameters suggests that the pressure onset rate of the inflator is more important than peak pressure in determining the severity of out-of-position injuries and should be given primary consideration in inflator depowering efforts. Statistical comparison of dummy and cadaver responses indicates acceptable biofldelity of the Hybrid III small female dummy.
Keywords: Air bag; thoracic; chest; injury