On Saturday, June 20, 2015, GPA Instructor Bruce Stanford’s Crash Formula Testing and Validation class got to put their skills to work investigating controlled test crashes. The instructors executed two crash tests: a pole strike and a truck vault.
The purpose of both tests was to validate the mathematical formulae that are used to calculate impact speeds based on gathered evidence from a crash scene. Additionally, the benefit to students when they can observe video of a crash and analyze vehicle behavior is invaluable.
Pole Strike Test:
The impact speed in this pole strike was 39 mph. The class used a method where they accounted for all the energy dissipated during the crash, by damaging both the pole and the vehicle, and after impact movement of the vehicle, which when accounted for should yield the impact speed of the vehicle.
Truck Vault Test:
The vault speed was 45 mph. Because gravity is a constant, all objects fall at the same rate, regardless of weight. By determining take off angle, horizontal distance traveled, and vertical movement, the class used Uniform Projectile Motion principles and calculated airborne speed, verifying that the formula works.