Three to five thousand people die in a collision with the front of heavy trucks. Our research has informed government and manufacturers of the elements that contribute to these heavy truck collision fatalities.  Under-ride in heavy trucks, rollovers, tire-soil interaction, and fuel tank design are all contributing factors that we have studied.  Virtual finite element techniques allow FRC  to evaluate crashworthiness of heavy trucks under a wide range of impact conditions that otherwise would not be possible with only physical testing.

Underride Research

In our analysis of both rigid and energy absorption European underride designs we were able to develop advanced front protection systems using a front underride deployment that significantly improved safety conditions. In other studies we examined rear underride mounting designs in a variety of vehicle engagement configurations.

Heavy Truck Rollovers

Crashworthiness in heavy truck rollovers has been a subject of concern for decades.  FRC has developed advanced techniques for evaluation of heavy truck rollover occupant protection and the design of advanced compartment structures. Such designs maintain  effective occupant survival space while taking into account restraint system effectiveness under rollover conditions. 

Certification Methodologies

Virtual finite element techniques allow us to evaluate crashworthiness of heavy truck components under a wide range of impact conditions that otherwise would not be possible with only physical testing.


Fuel Tank Research

Tire - Soil Interaction Research

Composite Structures

Heavy trucks are particularly susceptible to fires in crash conditions. Fires resulting from impacts occur nine times more often than in passenger vehicles. FRC has demonstrated, in conjunction with industry, the ability of advanced frame and tank design techniques that protect fuel tanks under fixed-object impact conditions up to 70 mph in vehicle to vehicle closing velocities and 60 mph in vehicle to object impacts.

FRC has developed advanced 3d soil tests for evaluating soil conditions and subsequently applying these results into finite element models to evaluate traction and stability effects of tire designs under different soil characteristics.

FRC has designed advanced composite structures for heavy trucks, aircraft seats, blast and ballistic protection using forged composite, s2 and e-glass, and carbon prepreg.  Various fabrication techniques have been used including vacuum infusion and temp/compression methods.