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Volvo's Crash Test - Web Exclusive

Volvo's facility has been one of the most advanced ever.

May 6, 2010


Volvo's crash test laboratory in Torslanda, Sweden is celebrating both its 10th anniversary and 3000 full-scale tests that have occurred there over its 10 years. Volvo's facility has been one of the most advanced ever since its inauguration by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf in early 2000. It has continued to implement cutting edge technology with a recent addition of digital high-speed cameras that can capture 200,000 frames per second.

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The crash-test laboratory has one fixed and one movable test track. The movable track can be adjusted from 0 to 90 degrees. This makes it possible to carry out tests involving a variety of incident and accident scenarios, from frontal impacts to side impacts, between two moving cars approaching at different angles and speeds.

The two tracks meet above a six meter deep, Plexiglas-covered pit used for filming the collision tests from underneath. Over the years, the Plexiglas shield has witnessed a number of remarkable crash tests. For instance, in 2003 Volvo demonstrated the side-impact protection of the Volvo S40 to media representatives by allowing the compact sedan model to be struck by a far larger XC90 model traveling at 31mph.

"The degree of precision in a test in which two moving cars collide at 31mph is 25mm. This corresponds to two thousandths of a second. By way of comparison, a blink of the human eye takes about 60 thousandths of a second," said Thomas Broberg.

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At the end of the fixed track is a concrete slab that can be used for various tests including rollovers and avoidance or mitigation of a crash. At the end of the movable track, the surrounding landscape serves as an integrated part of the crash-test laboratory. Here crash tests are carried out against a variety of objects found in the traffic environment.

The lab's crash block weighs 850 tonnes and is moved around with the help of air cushions. In addition, there are around 20 other fixed and movable barriers covering Volvo's own, stringent test regime as well as various official test requirements.

In addition to the lab's full-time employees there is a team of about 100 less recognized staff members in form of crash dummies ranging in size, age and gender. The dummies are advanced measuring instruments with different designs and configurations for different crash situations.



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