A test method was developed whereby repeated pole impacts could be performed at multiple locations per test vehicle, allowing a comparison of energy and crush relationships. Testing was performed on vehicles moving laterally into a 12.75 inch diameter rigid pole barrier. Crush energy absorption characteristics at the different locations were analyzed, and the results compared to test data from broad moving barrier crashes and available crash tests with similar pole impacts. The research documents the crush stiffness characteristics for narrow impacts at various points on the side of the Taurus vehicle platform. Factors encountered during the research include the importance of rotational energy accounting and uncertainties related to crush energy related to induced deformation. The findings show that the front axle and A-pillar regions are much stiffer than the CG and B-pillar areas to narrow rigid pole impact. The central CG region produced stiffness relations that correspond well with published broad-impact data when the effective crush width was assumed to be roughly three times the pole diameter. Results of this research sustain the theory that stiffness properties vary significantly along the side of a vehicle. Though not practical as a tool in every circumstance, the multiple impact location technique should be considered when side impact crush energy absorption characteristics are key to the outcome of an accident reconstruction.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





side impact, testing, vehicle, crush, energy, pole, technique, narrow object