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Side Impact Beams

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Rebecca Marshall

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Side Impact Beams

About a quarter of all fatal car accidents are caused by side collisions.

How do these Doors Work?
The beams in car doors work to protect the contents (people) of the car. They do this by absorbing the kinetic energy of the impact.

How is Energy Involved?
Anti-intrusion bars are suspended above the ground in the door frames of the car. This is considered potential energy as they would fall if the door frames were removed.

The kinetic energy of the car means that the side impact bars move due to their being locked in place. As well, any kinetic energy applied to the bars by an external force, like another car or vehicle, is absorbed by these bars.
This is why car manufacturers have improved their safety standards. Newer cars have side airbags and side impact beams within the doors and body of the car.

These beams protect the passengers of a car at the point of impact.
What are they Made of?
These beams may be made of aluminum or steel.
Steel beams will provide the car with a heavier frame.
Aluminum beams will cause the vehicle to be lighter, and therefore more fuel efficient.
Rebecca Marshall
Introduction to Side Impact Beams
What Forces are at Work?
Gravity is present when dealing with anti-intrusion bars. It is a consistent force pulling down on the car as a whole.
Newton's third law is a huge part of the physics behind side impact bars. As a car hits the side of your vehicle, the front bumper pushes in on your door. Your door, because it has these beams, pushes back on the front bumper of the car to reapply some of the force, but absorbing the rest.
Side Impact Beams / Anti-Intrusion Bars
Energy Transformations
and the physics behind them
The kinetic energy from the impact is converted into kinetic energy that either pushes you away from the other car or rotates the car and pushes you away from the other car.
There is also a normal force acting on the car, which is the force counteracting gravity so that the car stays on the asphalt of the road without sinking in.
Some of the kinetic energy absorbed is also transformed into energy that is used within the engines of the cars involved in the crash.
Picture Sources
Because they don't move unless the car moves, any and all motion calculations that are done to calculate the motion of the car are also done for the anti-intrusion beams.
The only motion taking place in these side impact beam is found when the car itself is in motion. They are part of the frame of the car.

Usually, the only kind of motion that takes place is the vibration of an idling car or the forward and backward motion of a car driving or parking.
It might be advantageous to be able to do motion calculations when you're a police officer. If you need to investigate a car crash, you can determine who caused the accident and whether or not anyone was speeding.
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