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Congress: Examining trends in head and neck loading during side impact testing

Event: FISITA World Congress 14-16 September 2021 online

Name: Jessica Isaacs, Biomechanical Engineering Consultant

Company: Exponent

Presentation Title: F2021-PIF-063 Head and Neck Loading Trends in IIHS Side Impact Testing

Please introduce yourself briefly…

My name is Jessica Isaacs, and I’m a biomechanical engineering consultant at Exponent. I have a multidisciplinary background conducting research in bioengineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. At Exponent, I work out of our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA office and focus on issues involving human injury biomechanics and evaluating kinematics and mechanisms of injury. My work includes evaluation of injuries occurring in vehicular, pedestrian, occupational, recreational, and fall-related accidents, as well as injuries associated with the use of consumer products.

My doctoral research, completed at Drexel University also in Philadelphia, focused on spine biomechanics, the effects of degeneration and age on the intervertebral disc, and injectable hydrogels. I completed a Fulbright Fellowship at Tel Aviv University in Israel. During my time in Israel, I focused on predictive multi-parametric computational biomechanical models for diagnosis, management, and repair of lumbar spine pathology, as well as characterizing fiber reinforced bio-composite materials.

Prior to joining Exponent, I was a visiting assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at Widener University. During my tenure, I taught a variety of undergraduate courses, acted as faculty advisor for the Society of Automotive Engineers, and participated in various STEM outreach events.

What you will talk about at this year’s FISITA World Congress?

I will be presenting our work examining trends in head and neck loading during side impact testing in new vehicle models over the prior two decades conducted as part of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Vehicle Side Impact Crashworthiness Evaluation Protocol. Head injury criterion, maximum lateral bending moments, and axial forces were calculated for all tests to evaluate head and neck loading and comparisons were also made for paired optional side airbag tests.

What benefits will participants gain from your presentation?

Moderate-speed side impacts are a real-world crash condition that can present potential for injury. Prior evaluations of occupant responses in moderate-speed side impacts are sparse and have largely focused on statistical assessment of injury prevalence in real-world data. In this study, we investigated moderate-speed side impact performance over 18 years of IIHS testing. Additionally, very little prior work has focused on the utility of side airbags (roof rail or seat mounted) in mitigating injury. Here, we present comparisons between matched-pairs of vehicles with and without optional side airbags, focusing on head and neck kinetics.

Here, we present comparisons between matched-pairs of vehicles with and without optional side airbags, focusing on head and neck kinetics.

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About the FISITA World Congress

Since 1947, the FISITA World Congress has been the leading international meeting place for industry experts, engineers and executives to exchange ideas and discuss the trends that drive the automotive industry forward. The theme for the 38th FISITA World Congress is 'From automobile to mobility. New roles. New challenges' and it will take place 14-16 September 2021, with the opportunity for the global audience to join virtually available for the first time. Registration is now open, with the Early Bird and special registration rates available until 31 August 2021.

Content from the 2020 FISITA Web Congress is available within the FISITA Technical Library, while material from previous Congress events back to 1998 is available in the FISITA Store. By the time of this year’s Congress, all the content will be available within the FISITA Technical Library, with free access provided to FISITA members.

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The FISITA World Congress is one of the most important and prestigious gatherings of mobility engineers and executives in the automotive and mobility calendar. We can offer a number of exceptional promotion opportunities for organisations, associations and companies enabling them to meet their targeted audience and interact with the key decision-makers in and around FISITA 2021.

There are many opportunities to partner with us at the upcoming Congress. Take a look at the virtual prospectus for the full list and easily book a partnership package or virtual booth, or contact Ms. Marie Březinová, Industry Liaison and Sales Manager, Guarant International spol. s r. o., on

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