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Instrumentation For Shock And Impact Analysis

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

New Instrumentation Ideas

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.756.1 - 15.756.10



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Paper Authors

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Randy Buchanan University of Southern Mississippi

author page

Steven Bunkley University of Southern Mississippi

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Instrumentation for Impact Analysis


A test apparatus and appropriate instrumentation were designed by a student with the help of a faculty, to test the deceleration time of a specified impact force applied to a test subject. The apparatus was made to be adaptable to different configuration requirements of future research. This apparatus utilized the accelerating force of gravity in a procedure known as “drop testing”, in which the test subject is placed at the base of the apparatus. A measured mass is then raised to a calculated height, where the potential energy is released as the mass is guided along a path to impact the test subject. An accelerometer was used to indicate the velocity and deceleration time, to verify the impact force, and calculate the impact rating of the test subject.

The data was converted into useful graphs of acceleration, force, velocity, and position in respect to time. The accelerometer contained an internal voltage regulator and an oscillator and produced a signal that was modulated to represent the acceleration experienced by the accelerometer.

The data from the procedure was stored electronically for calculations, analysis, and documentation. Results of the experimentation provided much insight into the varying characteristics of different materials to absorb the energy of physical impact. The paper will discuss the design process, the instrumentation involved, and the results of the tests as well as related student learning.


The researchers were tasked with creating a method of determining the mechanical characteristics of various materials used in sports protective gear, particularly mouthpieces. A notable corporate sponsor approached the university about conducted related research. Faculty, facilities, and a graduate student were identified and put in place to accomplish the requested goals. Unfortunately, at the onset of the economic downturn, the company withdrew its support. By this time, the interested faculty and student had already identified the needed apparatus and methodologies. Existing instrumentation was identified to perform the task, as well as a minimal amount of budget reserves to purchase ancillary items. The test apparatus design was modified to fit the existing instrumentation and available resources.

Test Apparatus

The apparatus used was designed to utilize gravitational acceleration for consistent and repeatable results. Several differing configurations were considered throughout the design and even construction process. The final arrangement made use of two angle bars as guides for a solid rectangular mass, as shown in Figure 1. The mass can be freely lifted vertically along the guide rails to max height difference of 87.6 cm (34.5 in). The rigidity of the structure is maintained by two supports of metal plumbing pipe bolted to the base and top of the front half of the structure. The back part of the structure is bolted directly to a concrete wall. The base of the

Buchanan, R., & Bunkley, S. (2010, June), Instrumentation For Shock And Impact Analysis Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16894

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