The objective of this paper is to show a timeline of the dynamic response of the structure of a current passenger vehicle impacting (1) a full-frontal rigid barrier, (2) an offset frontal deformable barrier, and (3) a center pole. A finite element model was used for the study with a time step of 1 microsecond. The behavior of the frame rail is shown at 20-msec increments. It was found that the passenger vehicle managed the full-frontal crash and 40% offset frontal crash well by absorbing crash energy in the side rails. In the center rigid pole impact, the pole missed the side rails, a vehicle’s primary energy-absorbing component, and caused undesirable occupant compartment intrusion. The occupants in the no-rail type of crash would benefit by a transverse connection (or coupling) to the frame rails.
frontal impacts; finite element method; crush zones; validation