Setting Trends

Simulation and Advanced Computing Research —

Ensuring Accurate and Robust Models

Simulation and Advanced Computing Research represent the core of NCAC activity. Full-scale crash testing of several potential crash scenarios is cost-prohibitive and does not achieve comprehensive solutions. Instead, NCAC relies on simulating these scenarios on high-performance computers, which saves time and maximizes research dollars.

NCAC's approach to vehicle crashworthiness simulation involves developing computer models of every element involved in a crash — the vehicle structures themselves; dummies with human biomechanical components; airbags; moving deformable barriers; and roadside hardware. These highly precise, mechanics-based models serve the safety community worldwide. They enable researchers to perform accurate and detailed simulations and analyze various crash scenarios to improve regulations, vehicle designs, restraint systems and roadway structures. NCAC's capabilities can be applied to such other research areas as aircraft and aviation safety and anti-ram security device design for infrastructure protection.

Not long ago, even simple simulations — such as those of small models representing just a 100-millisecond event — required a day or more on a vector supercomputer to complete. Today, using low-cost parallel computing, NCAC researchers can perform large-scale car-to-car simulations — complete with occupants and airbags — in just a few hours. What's more, NCAC's powerful, integrated workstations enable researchers to view and manipulate simulation data immediately; such a task was virtually impossible just a few years ago.

The shift from using vector-based computers to more efficient high-performance parallel computer technology resulted from a landmark research program initiated by NCAC. Working in cooperation with FHWA, NHTSA, U.S. automotive manufacturers, the computer industry and commercial crash-software developers, NCAC accelerated the application of high-performance parallel computing in the field of crash simulation. Now, virtually all U.S. car companies have incorporated parallel computing into their normal, day-to-day design and analysis processes; few still use expensive, centralized vector machines.

The high-performance parallel computer capability complements and enhances NCAC's modeling work and enables researchers to execute and verify complex calculations and conduct large-scale crash simulations more quickly and at a fraction of the cost of live testing. Using this more efficient approach to transportation safety, researchers can assess the applicability or success of regulations and of vehicles, safety systems and highway infrastructure components to reduce damaged and injury to save lives.


C-1500 Truck Model
C-1500 truck - build up
Truck model built up from individual components MPEG (0.5MB)
C-1500 truck to Jersey barrier - front view
Truck to Jersey Barrier, front view MPEG (0.8MB)
C-1500 truck to wall - bottom view
Truck to wall, bottom view MPEG (0.3MB)
C-1500 truck to wall - front & side views
Truck to wall, front & side views MPEG (1.1MB)
C-1500 truck to Jersey barrier - top view
Truck to Jersey Barrier, top view MPEG (0.5MB)

Reduced C-1500 Truck Model

Reduced truck model impacting rigid pole, side view MPEG (0.3MB)

Reduced truck model impacting rigid pole, top view MPEG (0.3MB)

Bogie Model

Bogie isometric View MPEG (3.2MB)

Bogie nose close-up from several angles MPEG (8.2MB)

Bogie close-up top view MPEG (3.2MB)

Human Model

Leg to crushable barrier from several angles MPEG (2.7MB)

Taurus Model

Taurus to MDB 60% offset, 30° oblique MPEG (2.2MB)

Taurus to Taurus with Airbags, Dummies and Seatbelts MPEG (8.9MB)

Taurus to Taurus 60% offset, 30° oblique MPEG (2.2MB)

Taurus to wall 100% overlap MPEG (1.8MB)

Taurus to Taurus 50% overlap MPEG (1.1MB)

Taurus to wall 50% offset MPEG (1.9MB)

U-Post Sign Support Model

Bogie to U-Post simulation, isometric view MPEG (1.6MB)

Bogie to U-Post simulation, closeup view of U-Post MPEG (1.6MB)