Numerical Modeling of School Bus Crash Scenarios

C.J. Thompson, Z.S. Wowczuk, J.E. Smith, W.W. Huebsch, and V.H. Mucino (USA)


Crashworthiness, Finite Element Analysis, Numerical Modeling


The transportation of students on buses to and from school and school-related functions is one of the safest forms of over- the-road student transportation. Since school buses are generally heavier than the objects being impacted, they experience reduced crash forces and distribute crash forces differently than do passenger cars, vans or light trucks impacting the same object. Because of this, the crash forces experienced by the passengers of large buses are much less than those experienced by the occupants of light vehicles. The work presented here represents a model of a school bus under a frontal crash scenario to examine the kinetics occurring to the different occupant areas; the scenario is a frontal impact. A complete three dimensional model of the chassis and body of a typical full size school bus was preprocessed in the I-DEAS Master Series software; LS-DYNA3D was used as the processor. With the results, improvements can be made to the occupant area to further reduce the potential injuries and fatalities to the occupants and, more importantly, future scenarios can be developed to help reduce the injuries sustained in vehicles that impact school buses.

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