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Car Crash Example

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http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/carcr2.html

For the car crash scenario where a car stops in 1 foot from a speed of 30 mi/hr, what is the
force on the driver? Assume a 160 lb (mass = 5 slugs) driver.
If firmly held in non-stretching seatbelt harness: Stopping distance 1 ft.
Deceleration = 967 ft/s2 = 294 m/s2 = 30 g's
Non-stretching seatbelt
Force = 4813 lb = 21412 N = 2.4 tons
If not wearing seatbelt, stopping distance determined by nature of collision with windshield,
steering column, etc. : stopping distance 0.2 ft.
Deceleration = 4836 ft/s2 = 1474 m/s2 = 150 g's
No seatbelt!
Force = 24068 lb = 107059 N = 12 tons!!
If seat belt harness stretches, increasing stopping distance by 50%: 1.5 ft.
Deceleration = 645ft/s2 = 197 m/s2 = 20 g's
Stretching seatbelt
Force = 3209 lb = 14274 N = 1.6 tons
Index
These calculated numbers assume constant deceleration, and are therefore an estimate of the
Work-energy
average force of impact.
principle

Calculation of force on Non-stretching


driver
seatbelt

HyperPhysics***** Mechanics

Stretching
seatbelt

No
seatbelt!

Seatbelt and
airbag

R Nave

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28/10/2016 08:14

Car Crash Example

2 of 2

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/carcr2.html

Index
Work-energy
principle
If the weight of the driver is
N=
lb, corresponding to
mass =
kg =
slugs,
and the car is traveling with a speed:
v=
m/s =
km/hr =
mi/hr,
then a crash which stopped the driver in a distance d=
m=
would result in an average impact force of

Impact force F =

N=

lb =

Car crash
scenario

ft

tons!!

You may change any data value. Clicking outside the box will then initiate a calculation of
the impact force and conversion of the data value to the other types of units.

Discussion of car crash scenario


How does a seatbelt change the impact force on the driver?

HyperPhysics***** Mechanics

R Nave

Go Back

28/10/2016 08:14