Y'know, they make SUCH a BIG deal about "crumple zones". The term even
makes it into advertisements. The NHTSA makes dramatic videos (vividly
displayed in automaker adverts) showing the effect of such "crumple zones".
The idea of the "crumple zone" is that the energy of the impact will be
*slowly* absorbed, so that Mrs. PorkPie's internal organs won't suffer
G-forces sufficient to extrude their liquid contents into her minivan's
cupholders and kill her.
Now -- get this -- all of a sudden, the "Smart" car does not have to have
"crumple zones"! Somehow, it will violate all the laws of physics while
protecting its occupants! Instead of slowly converting impact energy into
deformation, the "Smart" is "bounced around like a pinball", so all the
energy is dissipated in bouncing the car around. But wait..you're IN that
Transport Canada rigged frontal impact tests for 1998 model year cars to
make sure automakers would have to install airbags without having the
threat of legislation forcing them to do so. At the time of this occurrence
(around 1996), a major bureaucrat boasted that TC had done this. This
avoided the need for a vote in Parliament. I think the "Smart" benefited
from that sort of rigging, and that this particular "rigging" was done in
order to allow the introduction of the sort of car the commie pinkos liked.
Canada requires (and is the ONLY country that does so) that bumpers be able
to absorb the forces of a 5 mph impact into a fixed object without damaging
the car's "safety" systems". Well, have you ever looked at an actual
"Smart" car? The only reason the lighting system is protected from damage
is because it is quite high up, almost at windshield level. The wheels and
suspension...hmmm...There is a 5mm layer of plastic between intruding
objects and the tires and nothing else. Is that "safe"? The slightest bump,
and your steering goes...
Seems to me that Daimler Chrysler have tugged at the enviro/safety
heartstrings of the powers-that-be, and have convinced them that something
as expensive and demonstrative as the "Smart" MUST be a Good Thing.
Therefore the "Smart" should achieve certification for Canadian roads on
account of its moral goodness, and nothing else. Seems like US lawmakers
are now similarly in thrall to this nonsense.
My suspicion as to why the "Smart" shows low collision and injury rates?
Because nobody under the age of 50 drives one. Nobody under the age of 50
can AFFORD one. 50-year-olds have collision rates far below those of
Forty inches between your steering wheel and the front bumper. Think about
that. Go measure it against your own car. Go sit in a "Smart" once they
become available, and think for yourself.
Smart is stupid.
crumple zones are definitely useful, but the truth is, many cars'
crumple zones "activate" at speeds well below that necessary to prevent
serious injury. it's a /fantastic/ mechanism for ensuring vibrant
health of motor manufacturers and local body shops however.
particularly when they're arranged such that the body shell becomes
irreparable or seriously expensive at say 6mph. "fix or repair daily"
are /experts/ in this. their initial deformation zones are usually
/behind/ the engine, not in front!!! that's BIG $$$$'s and it's hardly
enough of a slam to have even spilled your frappa-latta-mocha-chino.
to be honest, i've not seen this particular vehicle up close - it's a
long time since i've been to europe or canadia, but i seriously doubt it
has no crumple zones. the important thing is that it has a sufficiently
strong passenger cell.
that used to be the case here in the states, but you can bet your sweet
little rear end that the auto and repair industries scotched that pdq
once they felt the bleak wind of dramatically fewer repairs/write-offs
blowing around their sensitive parts. which they did for a few years in
they would be if they weren't much more enthralled at the, er,
"contributions" that big oil still lavishly slops around the d.c. area.
do /not/ misunderestimate the impact this has on current nhtsa policy.
maybe, but a responsive nimble car probably has something to do with it
too. in addition, if it's lighter, there's less energy to absorb.
energy = force x distance moved. for a given impact, if the force
necessary to deform a crumple zone is low, it needs a larger deformation
distance over which to absorb that energy. provided the deceleration
rate does not exceed that which causes injury, and with seat belts and
air bags, it's a lot higher than it used to be, there's no reason to
have large scale deformation if more limited deformation does the job.
come on tegger, don't be bashful - how do you /really/ feel?!!!
There is some information about construction if you click on "why are they
Click on the MSNBC link or go directly here to see a crash test
Really, the physics of crumple zones is not rocket science. The stiffness of
the zone determines the amount of force applied to occupants while the depth
of the zone (for a given stiffness) determines the maximum impact speed the
zone can absorb. Short zones work just fine, but become ineffective at lower
speeds than longer zones.
IIRC there is considerable disagreement on how much deceleration a human
body can safely withstand, and air bags complicate that. The major concern
is aortic rupture, and air bags alone have been known to cause aortic
rupture at speeds as low as 10 mph. It still doesn't change the shape of
things - longer crumple distances are effective to higher speeds than
shorter ones. Where the cutoff is for the SMART car is something I couldn't
Really? I was being paid big bucks to design crumple zones, when you where
probably still driving a tricycle There is not enough room in a vehicle of
that size to design a crumple zone that can sufficiently reduce the terminal
speed of the third collision, at which ones organs will strike their
skeleton, to prevent them from being killed at the mandated 35 MPH crash
test speed Before we had test dummies we used belted an unbelted cadavers.
Their livers, spleens, gallbladders, and etc
would explode. If they had lungs capable of holding air, or blood under
pressure, I'm sure they would have ruptured as well ;)
Interesting article in Home Power magazine, No 114. August/September 2006
The Myth of a Hydrogen Future
by Ulf Bossel, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Engineering
--Hydrogen is not an energy source but an energy carrier (you have to create
hydrogen from something)
--2.2 gallons of hydrogen is the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline,
you will process 2.4 gallons of water to get that kilo of hydrogen
--To satisfy present fuel needs with hydrogen, Los Angeles would have to
double it's water intake (already piped in from the Rockies) and use the
energy equivalent of 80 power stations to crack the hydrogen & compress or
-252.87 o C is the boiling point of hydrogen. To make it economical to
transport, some combination of super-refrigeration and pressure will be
needed to compress it
--because of low energy yield, it would take 22 gasoline truck-sized
transports (hydrogen pressurized to 3500 psi) to equal the energy found in
one tanker truck of gasoline
--it will require 30-40% of the hydrogen's energy to compress or liquefy it
--the power plant to wheel efficiency of electric cars approaches 60-70%,
the best hydrogen fuel cells yield 17-23%
DUH. Everybody is different. Depending on Age, health, lifestyle,
diet, genetics, gender, etc. One person may be fine sitting in a
Toyota Corolla as it careens into the rear of a stopped Cadillac at
60mph. Bumps, bruises, broken bones, but no head trama. BUT the next
person 50 years older would immediately die in such an impact as the
brain matter sloshes around inside her head. Fatal Brain trauma and a
snaped neck in the blink of an eye.
Genetics has a lot to do with how well a person fairs in a car
accident. Some people are just built a lot more robust than others.
Bone density is different from person to person. Epithelial tissue is
different. Even the difference of being "relaxed" at the time of the
collision rather than "tense" can make all the difference in what kind
of injuries a person sustains. One example is all the drunk drivers
who kill and maime other motorists while walking away from it all with
no injuries. The Alcohol put them in a relaxed state which prevents
the flesh from getting damaged as easily.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.