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Adaptive Magnetorheological Seat Suspension for Shock Mitigation
Singh, Harinder Jit
Wereley, Norman M
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This research focuses on theoretical and experimental analysis of an adaptive seat suspension employing magnetorheological energy absorber with the objective of minimizing injury potential to seated occupant of different weights subjected to broader crash intensities. The research was segmented into three tasks: (1) development of magnetorheological energy absorber, (2) biodynamic modeling of a seated occupant, and (3) control schemes for shock mitigation. A linear stroking semi-active magnetorheological energy absorber (MREA) was designed, fabricated and tested for intense impact conditions with piston velocities up to 8 m/s. MREA design was optimized on the basis of Bingham-plastic model (BPM model) in order to maximize the energy absorption capabilities at high impact velocities. Computational fluid dynamics and magnetic FE analysis were conducted to validate MREA performance. Subsequently, low-speed cyclic testing (0-2 Hz subjected to 0-5.5 A) and high-speed drop testing (0-4.5 m/s at 0 A) were conducted for quantitative comparison with the numerical simulations. Later, a nonlinear four degrees-of-freedom biodynamic model representing a seated 50th percentile male occupant was developed on the basis of experiments conducted on Hybrid II 50th percentile male anthropomorphic test device. The response of proposed biodynamic model was compared quantitatively against two different biodynamic models from the literature that are heavily implemented for obtaining biodynamic response under impact conditions. The proposed biodynamic model accurately predicts peak magnitude, overall shape and the duration of the biodynamic transient response, with minimal phase shift. The biodynamic model was further validated against 16 impact tests conducted on horizontal accelerator facility at NAVAIR for two different shock intensities. Compliance effects of human body were also investigated on the performance of adaptive seat suspension by comparing the proposed biodynamic model response with that of a rigid body response. Finally, three different control schemes were analyzed for maximizing shock attenuation using semi-active magnetorheological energy absorber. High-speed drop experiments were conducted by dropping two rigid payloads of 240 and 340 lb mass from heights of 35 and 60 inch to simulate different impact intensities. First control scheme called constant stroking load control offered inflexible stroking load irrespective of varying impact severity or occupant weight. The other two control schemes: terminal trajectory control and optimal control adapted stroking load as per the shock intensity. The control schemes were compared on the basis of their adaptability and ease of implementation. These tools can serve as the basis for future research and development of state-of-the-art crashworthy seat suspension designs that further enhance occupant protection compared to limited performance of existing passive crashworthy concepts.