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Reconstruction of an Actual Vehicle Rollover as a Special Project in an Undergraduate Dynamics Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Outstanding Contributions: Mechanical Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1221.1 - 22.1221.12



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Paper Authors


Blake M. Ashby Grand Valley State University

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Blake M. Ashby is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University. His research and teaching interests include the areas of dynamics, kinematics, solid mechanics, musculoskeletal biomechanics, injury biomechanics, and accident reconstruction. Prior to joining to Grand Valley State, he worked for several years as a consulting engineer with Woolley Engineering Research Corporation and Exponent Failure Analysis Associates. He received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Utah State University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He is a registered Professional Engineer.

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Alan F. Asay Woolley Engineering Research Corp.

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Alan F. Asay has over 25 years of engineering experience in the field of accident reconstruction consisting of consulting, testing, and research. Since 1992 he has been employed at Woolley Engineering Research Corp. located in Provo, Utah as a lead consultant and a Professional Mechanical Engineer. He received a B.S. and M.S. from Brigham Young University in 1990 and 1992 respectively and has been a practicing Professional Mechanical Engineer since 1994. Additionally, he has served as an active member of SAE, ASME, and the American Society of Professional Engineers. Mr. Asay has both authored and/or co-authored 6 additional SAE publications.

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Reconstruction of an Actual Vehicle Rollover as a Special Project in an Undergraduate Dynamics CourseThe reconstruction of a vehicle rollover was assigned as a special group project in anundergraduate course in dynamics at _______ University. The students were provided with ascene diagram documenting the path of an actual vehicle rollover. Using the principles learnedin their dynamics course, the students were tasked with determining the translational velocity ofthe vehicle throughout the event, including the pre-trip, trip, and tumbling phases. The projectalso required the students to calculate the yaw rate prior to trip and the roll rate during thetumbling phase of the event. With the translational and rotational velocities along with therelevant geometry of the vehicle, the students were able to determine the trajectories ofhypothetical occupants ejected from the vehicle at different points in time during the rollover andestimate the locations where the occupants would come to rest. The data for this rollover camefrom a test conducted on a rural highway by __________ Corporation. A 1994 NissanPathfinder was towed to highway speed before being released, at which point an automatedsteering controller steered the vehicle through a series of maneuvers that resulted in rollover.The test was documented with on-board instrumentation and off-board high-speed video, whichallowed for direct comparison of the students’ reconstructions of the rollover event with whatactually occurred. This course project gave the students the opportunity to demonstrate that theprinciples taught in their undergraduate dynamics course can be used to effectively andaccurately analyze a real-world event.

Ashby, B. M., & Asay, A. F. (2011, June), Reconstruction of an Actual Vehicle Rollover as a Special Project in an Undergraduate Dynamics Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18863

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