An adaptable structure is one that can change its properties, such as its stiffness, depending on the configuration and severity of the crash experienced, to optimise its performance to minimise injury risk. The main objectives of this project were:
• To investigate, review and classify state of the art adaptive structures, concepts and technologies.
• To develop a methodology to estimate the potential benefit of adaptive structures in crashes; and to use this to estimate the benefit of a ‘generic’ adaptive concept, which represents the likely response of a typical adaptive system.
The review of state of the art structures, concepts and technologies relating to adaptive structures showed that current proposals for adaptive structures are fairly limited. The largest number of systems are currently based on the concept of altering the frontal force levels of the vehicle, and the majority of these have major technical feasibility drawbacks.
A methodology was developed and applied to estimate the benefit for GB for the introduction of an adaptive car front end structure, which can adjust its frontal force levels to optimise the occupant compartment deceleration pulse for different frontal collision configurations, in particular severity and overlap . This utilised the newly available linked STATS19 / SHIPS accident database in combination with the detailed CCIS accident database to identify the target population, whilst computer simulation and injury risk curves were used in order to estimate the effectiveness of the structure by calculating the reduction in risk of AIS level injury to the head and thorax. It was predicted that a significant benefit could be expected in terms of AIS 2+ and AIS 3+ head and thorax injury. However, at present there is some uncertainty regarding these results, because of a problem found with the methodology to estimate the effectiveness of the structure, which requires further work to resolve.

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