Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


College of Engineering


Lauren Cooper

Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The motivation behind the project was to update the Livermore Software Technology Corporation (LSTC) Hybrid III 95th percentile finite element model, such that the neck assembly response under varying simulated loading conditions equals that of the federally regulated Hybrid III 95th percentile anthropomorphic testing device (ATD).

The family of Hybrid III crash test dummies approximate the physical properties and response of the human body in a frontal automotive crash. The Hybrid III is used to assess the effectiveness of vehicle restraint systems. LSTC offers Hybrid III finite element models for use in their Multiphysics simulation software package, LS-DYNA. The Hybrid III models are used as cost-effective alternative to physical crash tests in the development of vehicle crashworthiness. However, the neck response of the LSTC Hybrid III 95th percentile model in simulation was poorly correlated to that of the physical Hybrid III neck in corresponding tests. The source of the dissimilarity was inadequate dimensions, element behavior, and material properties of the neck. To improve correlation to the physical ATD, a number of modifications were made to the LSTC Hybrid III 95th percentile neck.

Development of the neck model began with improvements in mass and geometry. Element formulation and element discretization were altered to improve model durability and accuracy. A mesh convergence study and simulation under extreme-severity loading were completed to validate the foregoing model alterations. Test data from a physical compression test and NASA-performed Neck Sled Tests were collated with data from simulation to adjust material type and material properties. The model was further calibrated according to Code of Federal Regulations neck calibration test response requirements.

The resulting neck model developed in LS-DYNA exhibited improved dynamic characteristics and reliability under both low and high-severity loading. Computational efficiency was enhanced along with model tendency to normally terminate under excessive loading. The updated model moreover demonstrated consistent element behavior and realistic feedback in bending. The revised neck model will be adopted by NASA for use in predicting potential occupant injury during spacecraft landing. A similar model with reworked material properties attuned to higher loading will be implemented into the full consumer version of the Hybrid III 95th percentile model for employment in high-severity frontal crash simulation.