car hood

Soft hood saves vulnerable road users

A material that becomes soft in the event of a collision. Swerea is developing a material for use in an engine hood that will reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries.

During 2012, in Sweden, about 340 vulnerable road users died or were seriously injured as a result of vehicle collisions. Most were pedestrians and the most common injuries were to the head and lower part of the body. In most cases, the front part of the vehicle caused the injuries.

Increased safety with new composite
To protect road users and to reduce the number of serious accidents, researchers at Swerea in Mölndal are working on improved traffic safety.

In the ENLIGHT project, a composite material with variable stiffness is being developed. By triggering carbon fibres and applying current to heat the inner core of the material, the stiffness of the material is reduced, causing it to soften.

Softening material dampens crash
On impact with a pedestrian, the material, which is placed in the engine hood of the vehicle, softens. Since the force of the impact is reduced by the softer material, serious injuries can be prevented. Mainly, the incidenceof injury to the head will be reduced. Another possibility would be to incorporate the material into the vehicle bumper, which would prevent serious leg injuries. 

The project involves several European vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, universities and institutes. The automakers include, among others, VW, Fiat, Renault, Jaguar and Benteler.