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Old 09-22-2005, 10:31 AM   #51
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Default basic layout/engineering issues

As a rally driver, codriver, car owner and builder, this issue hits doubly hard.

As it stands, rally cars are converted out of street cars. In order to install NASCAR style door bars, you encounter several large issues (among numerous others)

1--the additional door bars don't help much if you can't move the occupants closer together to gain crumple zone; given a compact car like and Impreza, this isn't real feasible.

2--NASCAR door bars would make ingress/egress do difficult that they'd add a degree of danger in the typical "climb out the window when you're upside down in the ditch" kind of normal rally shunt.

3--The NASCAR door bars would make window design problematic, especially as regards weather protection. Stock car races get canceled if it rains--rallies don't. Ditto for snow, sleet, dust, or hail.

These issues are just a start. Technical discussion is good, it's just hard to handle emotionally when memories are raw like right now.

Dave G
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:34 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rallykeith
While I understand fully the point you are trying to make, I just want it to be known that I have personally gotten involved in this conversation because 8 days from now I will be in this position. International Rally NY is sept. 30th, and I would rather have some understanding of things before I get in the passangers seat. As a co-driver it takes a lot to put your life in someone else's hands, and at a time like this I worry. Being able to talk out these things is helping me. It doesn't mean I respect the situation any less, in many respects I feel I respect it more.
Keith, I agree with you on that, and its just as hard to get in a car and race knowing the dangers as well.

How about this. We all deal with it differently. Whe I race its only me and not a co-driver. I guess ( and certainly this is an eye opener for me in this thread) as a driver with a co-driver its even harder as you have another life you are risking at all times.

So then I back off a little, and can see you guys( the actuall drivers and co-drivers) points. I can see where my opinion was more so based on the timing. But yeah Keith when you put it that way, it doesnt change things alot.

It made me think of a time when I lost a friend in a car who had a cage that bolted to the floor ( same make as mine) and it poked thru on a soft once over roll. I knew I had to get in the same type of car with the same type of cage and drive,..........as ITB cars roll more often than one would think.

So in that there is an apology.
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Old 09-22-2005, 10:48 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Racer5
I think the first thing we all need to do is to think seriously about the nascar style doorbars that extends into the doors as far as is reasonable / possible.

Seats are very important in this type of accident as well.

Charles
This is not a comment / reaction to this week's events, only a comment about "nascar" type bars in general.

Nascar style door bars, which curve outward from the front and rear hoops, are not recommended for rally cars, because unlike circuit racing, the bars are likely to be impacted and yield at a single point (tree), and the extra length of the curved bar will allow the bar to form a point and fold inward towards the occupant.

Although Nascar type bars have the advantage of compression loads at the welded joints, it has been discovered that it is safer to load the side bars in tension to their breaking point, instead of having an outwardly curved bar yield, and collapse inward.

Be sure to leave the doors stock, with impact beams, inner panels, and trim panels, even the regulator intact, because these items help to spread the load of a tree impact over a wider area on the door bars.. If the door is hollowed to make room for nascar bars, there is no structure left to help spread the load out onto the door bars, which makes them more likely to yield at a single point.

...from FIA safety consultants.

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Old 09-22-2005, 11:04 AM   #54
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I don't want to get into a pissing match and this is not directed at anybody in particular and I apologize for getting off topic, but I'm going to relay this incident to another sport that is near and dear to my heart: kiteboarding.

I assure you all my testicles are no larger than anybody else's, but I CAN assure you that kiteboarding is without a doubt more deadly than any form of auto racing. How do I know this? The number of people who die every MONTH around the globe. Beginners and experienced, pro's and kooks. When somebody learns of a death, the details are usually posted online and compiled in a list of fatal kiting accidents. The conditions when the incident took place are described (weather, temperature, location, etc.), what gear the kiter was using, the terrain and surrounding area (rocky, shallow, waves, etc.). People are shocked, people are saddened, people are sullen to hear about these deaths, and undoubtedly, family, friends, and loved ones feel the brunt of the tragedy.

Of course, the initial response is: "Let's go to xyz beach and have an afternoon session in memory of John Doe... that's what he would've wanted." It's a great way to remember the victim- do what they loved to do as a sign of respect, gratitude, and solitude. I'm sure they'd be proud.

Then, inevitably, people start analyzing what happened that resulted in the death of John Doe. Why? Because that's the only way we'll learn how to make the sport safer. We're not engineers, we're not physics majors, we're kiters. It's barely a 5 year old sport and the technoligcal advancements have come a LONG way since the beginning with a focus on safety. New designs and techniques are emerging literally every quarter.

Guess what: people still die. So the manufacturers go back to the drawing board and try to eliminate the weaknesses, improve safety and performance, without hopefully introducing new problems. People come up with ideas for modifying a safety system to make it better. The recommend conditions to avoid, where NOT to kite, what to do in an emergency situation, etc.

When you read about what caused some fellow kiter to lose his/her life, you can LEARN from their misfortune and frequently become more aware of yourself and your surroundings and YOUR habbits and techniques, thus, making YOU a safer and more experienced kiter. It reminds you that what you're doing can be deadly and should be treated as such. I understand we all don't drive WRC cars nor do we have the vast amounts of resources available to prepare our weekend racers like one, but for the love of god, get off "your" (not anybody in particular) high horse and realize we ALL might be able to take something away from this crash and LEARN something. Maybe it's cage design that needs to be discussed- just ideas kicked around. Maybe we need to rethink about taking our new, bone stock, STi's out to an HPDE and driving bawls out with no safety gear. Maybe we need to think about seating position relative to the side of the car. Maybe we should think about getting a HANS etc before our next race. Maybe we should think twice about pulling an all-nighter working on the car only to race tired the next day.

Take away from this crash and tragedy what you will. If you choose to not take anything other than sorrows, that's your choice, but please leave other people to this discussion

And for the record, just like race car drivers, we understand every time we go out on the beach and launch a gigantic kite in the air, something could go wrong; we could die doing what we love. Anybody who doesn't think about this is kidding themselves. That doesn't make us cool or sexy, but the thrill, emotion, and feeling you get when kiting is enough to make the risks worthwhile and keep everything in perspective.

Sorry for the OT, it's just something I had to say.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:08 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Hurst
Although Nascar type bars have the advantage of compression loads at the welded joints, it has been discovered that it is safer to load the side bars in tension to their breaking point, instead of having an outwardly curved bar yield, and collapse inward.

Be sure to leave the doors stock, with impact beams, inner panels, and trim panels, even the regulator intact, because these items help to spread the load of a tree impact over a wider area on the door bars.. If the door is hollowed to make room for nascar bars, there is no structure left to help spread the load out onto the door bars, which makes them more likely to yield at a single point.
Solid points, Mike, and I appreciate your candor in contributing here, as you are perhaps the most equipped of anyone here to comment on cage requirements in the context of rallying.

The discussion of compression versus tension loads in the stressed members of a cage during an impact is a good one. Certainly, a mandrel-type impact (tree, post, or other narrow, immovable object) is very different in the sorts of loads than would be seen in a wall or t-bone type impact (that would be the predominant type of side-impact in stock car racing, with the exception of a pit-entry wall type impact).

To reflect this, IIHS and NCAP have both begun instituting post-type side-impact tests in addition to the classic T-bone tests in their vehicle safety evaluations. It's interesting to note that even low speed post-type side impacts (on the order of 20-30MPH) have shown fatal level injuries in road-car designs, predominantly due to impact forces of the head upon an cabin intrusion. This has driven the design of window curtain-type airbags that have improved survivability in these types of impacts.

A common metric used in the industry is B-pillar intrusion distance with reference to the centerline of the seat. The intrusion that the Peugeot 307 WRC suffered was markedly similar in terms of the structural failure to these sorts of post-type tests.

I think it's obvious that the cage failed under a combination of compression and tension loads at various points in the cage (though, the exact combination of failures can't be known until more information is released).

As Mike indicated, the compression-type joints in a NASCAR-style cage wouldn't provide any substantial improvement in intrusion with an impact with narrow application of force. On the same token, additional supporting materials within the door bars, overhead halo, and main hoop areas could likely have lessened the level of failure within the cage and reduced the depth of the cabin intrusion.

It's interesting to note that the WRC cars also run stock door panels and roof panels (ie, must be the standard steel pieces from the homologated model), and cannot run composites for those parts. I don't know the FIA regs regarding maintaining other components within the door, however (namely the impact beam structure).

In order for the B-pillar to intrude, the side of the cage (including door bars and rear bars extending behind the B-pillar) would have had to fail in tension, the crossbars in the main hoop and the roof would have had to fail in compression. These cages are optimized for chassis rigidity, weight, and occupant protection... is it possible that previously "redundant" elements that were avoided for extra weight and no substantial increase in rigidity might have prevented the intrusion of the pillar? What other sorts of incidents have we seen similar hits?

Keep the discussion going! Lots of great information in here.

/Andrew
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:30 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by rallykeith
That would help. In the states we mandadted FIA approved cage padding for anywhere a helmet could hit, but that was all. Maybe adding it between the seat and the cage would be good.
Maybe a thick rubber bushing-type around the seat mounts? kind of like an engine mount? it could take off some of the force from the impact. not ALOT but it could help. any ideas on it?
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:35 PM   #57
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I realize WRC team make their own stage notes, but for regional rallys with route notes maybe "Caution! Tree Outside", should be used in places where there is the potential for this kind of accident. Mind you in some rallys you may need to use it an almost every corner.
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:40 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by AdvanSTI
Maybe a thick rubber bushing-type around the seat mounts? kind of like an engine mount? it could take off some of the force from the impact. not ALOT but it could help. any ideas on it?
This could, potentially, make things worse. A small amount of movement at the seat mounting point could result in a few inches worth of movement up at the occupant's head. And, the movement would be toward whatever object the car had impacted. That could be a problem in certain circumstances.

That said, something similar like seat sliders could work for head-on or rear-on impacts, that would allow the seats to slide forward or back maybe 6 inches in a massive accident to slow the decelleration. however, since the harnesses aren't attached to the seats, they'd have to somehow be modified to provide for the movement... that'd add a lot of potential failure points.
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:45 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by AdvanSTI
Maybe a thick rubber bushing-type around the seat mounts?
The occupant sees more G forces than the car does.
This is because of the relative motion of the occupant to the chassis of the car in the early stages of impact. Therefore the crash event occurs over a shorter period of time for the occupant than it does for the vehicle.

The sooner the occupant stops moving in relation to the car (end of slack in the belts, head aginst the head restraint in the seat), the longer the crash event becomes for the occupant.

Longer event (time) results in less force.

So no, a flexible seat mount is not good, because it delays the slowing of the occupant, and shortens the impact time resulting in an increase in force...be sure to think in terms of a brutal 30-100G imapct, not how a soft or flexible seat feels better in reacting to light forces.

This is why in testing, it has been shown that tighter belts, and belts that restrain even the pelvis area sooner in the impact event, will result in a decrease in neck tension and shear.

More dense cage padding also lengthens the time from when the helmet contacts the padding, to when the padding is fully compressed.

Issues concerning intrusion are a seperate matter.
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:47 PM   #60
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What is known about this particular area leading up to where Markko went off? Has it been stated already, if so I apologize?

In other words, was he coming out of a turn, on a straightaway, preparing for a turn? Was he most likely braking/accelerating? Was there an obstacle that threw off his line (marked or otherwise?)
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:57 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Hurst
The sooner the occupant stops moving in relation to the car (end of slack in the belts, head aginst the head restraint in the seat), the longer the crash event becomes for the occupant.

Longer event (time) results in less force.
.
So then, a harness bar behind the seats is better than stringing them all the way back because there will be less slack, right? I hope so because the car I'm trying to buy has a harness bar.
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Old 09-22-2005, 02:00 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by CirrusWRX
Because Markko was unhurt after the accident. I can understand how the impulse and force of the collision gets transferred AROUND the occupants in the car, through the cage, through the body panels, seats, seatbelts, dissapated in sound and heat, etc. but the car was relatively intact after the crash (not split in half or anything), which means that if it was a blunt force trauma as some have speculated, that means Markko would have also experienced nearly the exact same blunt force trauma as Park, and yet somehow, miraculously survived COMPLETELY unhurt? That's like saying Earnhardt would've died on impact, yet if he had a codriver, he/she would have been unhurt? Impossible.
Hmmm... on impact the car probably bent, alot of the blunt force would be dissapated with that bend, so impact wouldn't happen so fast or with as much force on the driver side, ie, markko didn't come to an abrupt stop as fast as park, and didn't directly hit anything himself.
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Old 09-22-2005, 05:52 PM   #63
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I don't think a conventional style rally car can be built to save a life in this type of an impact. There is just way too much energy to get rid of in way to little space. Not to be morbid, but Mike essentially hit a tree at 80mph while Marko was sitting in a car that hit a tree at 80mph. Big difference. Unless you can put the occupants in tandem and give each of them plenty of crushable area around them to absorb the impact, I can't see a way of preventing this type of outcome. Perhaps at lower speeds some of the suggestions would be helpful, but 80mph is really fast.

Driving through trees at high speeds is a very dangerous business. Although it looks like it would be blast, I am not brave enough to accept those risks.

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Old 09-23-2005, 07:22 PM   #64
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I'm sure that things can be done to vastly increase the safety of a rally car.

What about a nerf bar style doorbar? This would add needed triangulation that the nascar style door bar does not have. With the angular point of the nerf bar style door bar being at the same point horizontally as the occupants torso / hips.

For the roof halo structure a diamond shape triangulation with the points of the diamond lining up with the occupants torso / head area when viewed from above.

Thoughts?

I need some good physics software...
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Old 09-23-2005, 07:25 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howl
I realize WRC team make their own stage notes, but for regional rallys with route notes maybe "Caution! Tree Outside", should be used in places where there is the potential for this kind of accident. Mind you in some rallys you may need to use it an almost every corner.
I really don't think that is a good idea. I would never get to say anything else to the Driver.
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Old 09-25-2005, 06:46 AM   #66
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Yeah...for OR, WA, and BC rallies you'd pretty much just need one instruction, right at the start: "Caution! Trees everywhere!"

I hadn't thought about it prior to this thread, but Storm's comment about the possible tilted attitude of the car, others' points about pillar and roof cage structure - and the screen shot, prompted an idea: filling in much of the open area among the roof halo members with a light, rigid, material like a honeycomb panel, or structural foam sandwich panel.

The goal would be to support the various halo members for loads applied in the plane of the roof, e.g. the current accident. The picture appears to show the maximum intrusion at the roof level, and this doesn't really surprise me: the bottom of the car has the entire floorpan backing up the sills and lower cage members; the roof, for these loads, has far less support.

If the roof halo were supported in this manner it seems that far more structure would be in play resisting this type of impact. All the pillars of the shell itself, plus the associated cage members, would be resisting movement of the entire roof/cage halo and distributing the loads.

If the roof/pillar stucture can absorb and distribute the loads with less deformation than shown here that should mean that the door and side cage have less work to do. And that's good, because there's so little that can practically be done to add significant strength in that area. Of course this doesn't help for something like a bridge abutment, but there are a lot more trees out there than there are short, solid, mandrel objects.
At some point it's a matter of inches - or less, particularly in this worst case scenario. Perhaps a much more rigid roof plane could buy more room...
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Old 09-25-2005, 10:41 AM   #67
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^that sounds like a pretty good idea- thinking about last years Solberg/Mills crash in Rally Deutschland with one of those hinklestein (sp? giant concrete tank-directing objects burried in the ground)

The first hit they took was sort of on the upper a-pillar which many thought comprimised the cage on the first hit, then, after every flip, it further compressed to the point where it started pushing against Mills' head causing him to "bend" towards the center of the car. Maybe if the roof/a-pillar had held up just a bit better he wouldn't have been in such a close call. But again, as you point out, like with the Peugot crash, this was with a gigantic concrete object used to steer tanks, so maybe it is just "what can you do?"
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Old 09-25-2005, 10:47 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subie Gal
well i thought that i'd already explained that


it's like this.
80mph - into a tree = 160mph impact
- speed doubles when you hit something that abruptly, just like a head on collision -

this is not a rollover. flip. dip off the road.
this was like hitting a brick wall.
the worst kind of rally accident that can be had.

honestly, I am suprised Markko is alive.
I think that had the tree been larger, he'd be gone as well
Horrible stuff this is

want to learn more about physics... maybe take a class or something ???
i'm not being rude. i'm just not sure how else to explain it.

Jamie
That'd be true if he hit another car going the same speed, 80 mph. But he hit a stationary object, in that case 80 mph is 80 mph.

I don't think this incident was as much about speed as it was cockpit intrusion. Otherwise Markko would have perished as well. Certainly speed contributed to it, but the deforming of the passenger side appears to be what ultimately led to Park's demise.

I think we got really lucky last year with Petter and the hinkelsteins. One more roll, even half a roll, and that could have been it. Thank god codrivers sit lower in the car.
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Old 09-25-2005, 12:22 PM   #69
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Mike,

Can you comment on the similar aspects of Mark Lovell/Roger Freeman accident at Oregon Trails a number of years back, and Markko/Michael's accident here at Rally GB. Both seem to have similar impacts on the location of the cars, speeds, etc.
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Old 09-25-2005, 03:56 PM   #70
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You have to consider that increasing the rigidity of the cage to prevent intrusion will increase the chances of injury or death to the opposite occupant.

Also, consider that they use FIA seats in these cars, which are quite flexible. I'd bet that Marko's seat flexed towards the point of impact quite a bit, increasing his crash event duration. Even with a rigid cage that prevented intrusion, Michael's seat wouldn't have the free space to move and he would still be in contact with the tree.

I'm not saying it's impossible to improve the safety of these cars, but this is one of the most fatal hits a rallycar can take given the occupants seating position.

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Old 09-25-2005, 04:26 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geek Guy
Mike,

Can you comment on the similar aspects of Mark Lovell/Roger Freeman accident at Oregon Trails a number of years back...
As far as I know, he unfortunately really can't (without opening a big can-o-worms for himself, SCCA, etc...).

Without saying too much publicly, I will add that in the two competitor death's that have happened in the PA woods in the past 15 yesrs, it appears that we are talking about the same kind of thing. This is the kind of "off" that worries me more than anything else.

As for Rodger Freeth (Possum's Co-Driver), the shoulder belts were attached to the "original seat belt mounts for the rear seat passengers <as opposed to the cage>. When the car hit the tree, <on Roj's side> it moved that part of the body-shell back, and the belts compressed Roj's rib cage, squashing his lungs, liver, and kidneys." <taken from Possum's autobiography "Bourne to Rally">

The ironic part is that they had already moved the mounts to the cage crossbar in all the other cars, and were going to move them in that car after that rally

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Old 09-25-2005, 05:36 PM   #72
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So then, a harness bar behind the seats is better than stringing them all the way back because there will be less slack, right? I hope so because the car I'm trying to buy has a harness bar.
BINGO! Remember the MGB-GT that went head-on into a tree at a spectator point at STPR a couple years back? He had a harness bar directly behind his seat, his belts where TIGHT, and his helmet still hit (and broke) his steering wheel. FIA style belts are, IMO, absolutely absurd.

For those that witnessed this accident (I did), it really didn't look that bad, but the force involved was tremendous. Not only did the driver's helmet contact the steering wheel, the entire drivetrain (including the unibody mounting points) shifted in the car about 6 inches.... Didn't look like much more than a 40mph hit, too.

And the amount of physics ignorance being spouted in this thread is scary....
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Old 09-25-2005, 06:01 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by GarySheehan
You have to consider that increasing the rigidity of the cage to prevent intrusion will increase the chances of injury or death to the opposite occupant......
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Other forms of motorsports have proven that the human body is capable of 100+G impacts without serious injury.

...so increased rigidity of the car and cage to reduce intrusion can work, but only if this is accompanied by restraining the driver / co-driver better with restraints and containment seats. One won't work without the other.
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Old 09-26-2005, 10:09 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Hurst
Other forms of motorsports have proven that the human body is capable of 100+G impacts without serious injury.

...so increased rigidity of the car and cage to reduce intrusion can work, but only if this is accompanied by restraining the driver / co-driver better with restraints and containment seats. One won't work without the other.
So then why do we approve belts that stretch? There are plenty of textiles that do not stretch that can be used, I'm sure some of the no-stretch rope materials developed for sailing could be applied to belts.
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Old 09-26-2005, 10:54 AM   #75
M. Hurst
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Car #187
So then why do we approve belts that stretch? There are plenty of textiles that do not stretch that can be used, I'm sure some of the no-stretch rope materials developed for sailing could be applied to belts.
In terms of the amount of belt strech relative to the deformation of the human body, the belts we use now are hardly stretching.

In the videos we've seen video of high force impacts, whether human or dummies, the vast majority of the forward motion of the subject (coming away from the seat back), is the result of compression / deformation of the body, not belt stretch.
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