Improving Crash Safety of Jet Dragsters Through Modeling and Analysis
The objective of this thesis was to analyze how additional foam implementation in a jet dragster driver’s compartment can improve driver safety in the case of an accident. This analysis was divided into two sections: a crash simulation analysis and a base excitation mass-spring-damper model analyzing foam behavior. The jet dragster crash simulation modeled, reflected a Larsen Motorsports jet dragster accident in 2011, where a dragster hit the wall at 270 mph between a 43 to 60 degree angle. A static structural simulation, using the dragster chassis, was modeled in ANSYS and several dynamic simulations at varying impact angles were modeled in LS-DYNA. To improve the accuracy of the model, weight and slip angle were added to the simulations. The deformation of the chassis in these simulations was compared to the remains of the wrecked LMS dragster for validation since no other crash data were available. Acceleration data were collected from the driver’s compartment of the models that most resembled the actual wrecked dragster. Quasi-static and dynamic testing were conducted to characterize the mechanical properties of newly created Florida Tech flame-retardant foams being used in the dragster. The force-displacement curves collected from the tests were incorporated into the mass-spring-damper model, as well as the LS-DYNA acceleration data, to show how the implementation of foam would reduce the accelerations experienced by the driver. Modifications to the force-displacement curves showed that the ideal foam curve had a higher plateau region and an extended plateau region, resembling an ideal energy absorber.