Utilizing Vehicle Response Data from Under Body Blast Tests

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Protecting crew occupants has always been the primary concern for vehicle survivability design. The historical approach to maximizing survivability was to protect the occupants by considering what conventional threat impacts the vehicle, and in which location. For instance, the frontal arc of a tank has traditionally been designed to defeat incoming tank gun fire. The recent increase in large unconventional under-body blast attacks by a terrorist enemy shows that any area of the vehicle can be targeted. These attacks have led to different type of crew injuries necessitating the development of metrics in Live-Fire to understand how to better protect occupants from these new threats. 

The rise of under-body blast attacks has expanded the interest in and quantity of under-body blast tests performed on vehicles with specific interest on crew survivability. The emphasis on crew survivability has enhanced the implementation of instrumentation greatly. More advanced under-body blast test mannequins wereimplemented in tests and a greater amount of vehicle mounted instrumentation was used. The vehicle mounted instrumentation includes accelerometers, strain gauges, blast over-pressure gauges, break wires, and ITK)re. The test mannequins were made to record ITK)re and more injury mechanisms in an attempt to best capture crew response. However it should be noted that the interest in crew survivability is inherently linked to vehicle response and survivability as well. 

Crew injury data recorded by the test mannequins provide substantial insight into occupant response during under-body blast test events. However, it is necessary to link this crew injury data to vehicle response so that the whole system, including the vehicle itself, can be best designed for survivability. The simple flow diagram of a blast event in Figure I illustrates that a comprehension of vehicle response along with crew response is essential to an understanding the entire system response. Most under-body blast tests were typically viewed to produce either a pass or fail result based solely on the presence of occupant injury. This simplified approach with binary results dramatically underutilizes the wealth of data that is collected during these test events. Therefore the goal became to understand and utilize the vehicle response data, independently and in conjunction with the crew response data. In this way the entire system response can be best understood in order to improve vehicle and crew survivability.