Cranfield Impact Centre (CIC) evolved from the School of Automotive Studies and became a Ltd company in 1985. Nowadays, international leading-edge research on vehicle crashworthiness and occupant simulation is developed in its facilities, providing effective engineering solutions.
Advanced technology featured in CIC laboratories allows the performance of both static and dynamic testing of components and structures, complementing physical impact experiments, virtual testing techniques and computer modelling. A wide range of restraint systems, seats and even F1 vehicle tests are tested in these facilities for certification and research purposes, as CIC is a FIA approved test house for F1 crash tests.
Additional resources in CIC include sled deceleration testing, coach rollover experiments, moment of inertia and centre of gravity measurement or Finite Element modelling of accident reconstruction. These tests are mainly applicable in military, motorsport and aerospace fields but are also relevant in many other sectors that pursue excellence in design and testing procedures.
CIC therefore constitutes the ideal framework for a visit from the MSc Advanced Lightweight and Composite Structures students – a course that provides committed training in design and analysis of composite and metal structures. CIC’s academic and professional background allows them to design advanced structures through lightweight materials with applications on aerospace and automotive industries to ensure safety, structural integrity and crashworthiness requirements of their components.
One of the learning outcomes of crashworthiness analysis studied in this course includes the collapse examination of thick and thin walled sections. Students from MSc had the outstanding and rewarding opportunity of developing quasi-static compression testing of metal thin-walled tubes handled in CIC facilities. Experimental data was firstly captured and measured for a further interpretation with the aim of encouraging students to contrast theoretical lectures with experimental results providing comprehensive academic knowledge.
Sled Impact Test Facility from CIC includes a Decelerator that subjects any component or dummies to pre-determined crash pulses for aircraft, wheelchairs and vehicle seats testing, including full data acquisition and high-speed colour digital photography. We were also able to witness the impressive process of set up, impact execution and data analysis of Sled Impact Test Facility performing dynamic compression of metal tubes following expert industrial procedures.
Students analysing results obtained after impact experiment on metal tubes
Beyond any doubt, students from MSc Advanced Lightweight and Composite Structures enjoyed an enriching experience at Cranfield Impact Centre facilities, which provided the opportunity to test and analyse real aerospace components and broadened both their academic and professional training complementing qualifications obtained during their modules at Cranfield University.
To learn more about Advanced Lightweight and Composite Structures MSc visit https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/courses/taught/advanced-lightweight-and-composite-structures