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Патент USA US3097735

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July 16, 1963
Original Filed May 29, 1951
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United States Patent 0” "Ice
Patented July 16, .1963
of the invention incorporating two energy-absorbing units
Gerald H. Peterson, Santa Monica, Calif.
(575 Tahquitz, Paci?c Palisades, Calif.)
Original applications May 29, 1951, Ser. No. 228,847,
and Oct. 22, 1956, Ser. No. 617,648. Divided and
this application Sept. 2, 1959, Ser. No. 837,749
6 Claims. (Cl. 188-94)
mounted on one end of a vehicle frame;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view of
one of the energy-absorbing units shown in FIG 1;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing a modi?ed
form of the energy-absorbing unit; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the lines 4—4 of
FIG. 2.
In FIG. 1, the vehicle on which the preferred embodi
This invention relates to a device for and method of 10 ment of the invention is mounted is represented by the
absorbing kinetic energy, particularly for minimizing in
end portions of two longitudinal frame members 10 of
jury and damage by collisions and is directed to a safety
the vehicle chassis. This particular arrangement for
device of this character ‘for use on vehicles. While the
minimizing the effects of a collision, comprises a bumper
principles involved are applicable to absorbtion of kinetic
member 11 and two energy-absorbing units, each gen
energy in general, the invention has special utility vfor use 15 erally designated 12, interposed between the bumper mem
ber 11 and the vehicle chassis. The two energy-absorbing
on automotive vehicles {and will be so described herein for
units 12 comprise two plungers 15 which cooperate to sup
the purpose of disclosure and illustration.
port the bumper 111 and further comprise two cylinders
Of the tremendous force released in the collision of
16, which in turn movably carry the plungers 15. The
two automobiles or the crash of an automobile against a
stationary obstacle, a certain portion is absorbed by de 20 two cylinders i6 are mounted on the two frame members
10, respectively, by suitable brackets or standards 17.
struction and deformation of the vehicle structure and the
As best shown in FIG. 2, each of the cylinders 16 is of
rest of the impact force is converted into deceleration of
heavy metal to withstand high pressure and preferably
the moving vehicle. Too often the deceleration is at
a rate too extreme for passengers to survive without
at its rear end tapers to a discharge port or nozzle 20.
serious injury. In like manner, a stationary vehicle struck 25 The front end of each cylinder 16 may be closed by a
suitable bushing 21 through which the corresponding
by a speeding vehicle may be accelerated to a degree fatal
plunger 15 slidingly extends for inward movement in
for the passengers.
response to impact ‘forces. The inner end 22 of the
The general object of the invention is to provide safety
plunger 15 is securely threaded into the axial bore 23
means ‘for a vehicle that is capable of absorbing a suf
of ‘a thrust member 25 and is of reduced diameter to
?ciently great proportion of such collision force to reduce
form a rearwardly presented annular shoulder 26 for
the consequent acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle
abutment against the face of the thrust member.
to a magnitude that can be endured by the vehicle oc
The thrust member 25 is slidingly mounted in the
cupants without injury, or at least Without serious in
cylinder 16 and is normally held at the front end of the
jury. A .further object is to minimize the destructive
deformation of the vehicle structure apart from the elfect 35 cylinder by the forward end of a suitable resilient means
in the form of a heavy helical spring 27, which spring is
on the vehicle occupants.
con?ned, preferably under substantial compression, be
These objects are accomplished by an energy-absorbing
tween the thrust member 25 and a suitable piston 30:.
device in which two members are capable of moving rela
The interior of the cylinder 16 between the piston 30
tive to each other in two stages in response or reaction to '
and the discharge port or nozzle 20 contains a quantity
an impact force. In the initial stage of reaction the
or body of suitable material for resisting rearward move
impact force is directed against a suitable resilient means
ment of the piston 30. The properties of the material are
for conversion into potention energy. If the impact
such that it yields to relatively high pressure from the
force is of minor magnitude, this potential energy is im
piston by flowing out through the nozzle 20 and in doing
mediately released by recoil of the resilient means, and
so offers sufficiently high resistance to the movement of
a feature of the invention-is the fact that it will serve
in this manner as an ordinary shock absorber vfor the
On the other hand, if the impact force is of
the piston to absorb the major portion of any exces
sive impact force directed against the piston.
In the particular practice of the invention exempli?ed
excessive magnitude the relative movement of the two
in FIG. 2, ‘the cylinder '16 contains for this purpose a
parts of the safety device passes into the second stage
wherein the impact force is transformed into positive work 50 body 31 of material that is normally solid in the sense of
being solid at atmospheric pressure and ordinary out
by an extrusion action or special dashpot action. In the
door temperatures but is nevertheless capable of yielding
preferred practice of the invention, an automatic latch
to high pressure by extrusion through the nozzle 20. The
locks the resilient means against release or recoil when?
yield point of the body 31 with respect to responsiveness
ever the impact force is great enough to force the relative
to pressure from the piston 30 is preferably Within the
movement of the two parts of the safety device into
range of pressures created by compression of the coiled
this second stage of reaction.
spring 2'7 but is near the upper end of that range so that
The two-stage operation ‘of the device in reaction to
the spring acts along to absorb energy during the initial
an impact ‘force spreads the impact force over an ap—
portion of an impact force transmitted to the plunger 15.
preciable time period and thus reduces the magnitude of
With the described relationships in effect, it can be
force that must be absorbed by the safety device at any 60
seen how the energy-absorbing unit 12 reacts to an im
one instant of time. The extension in time enables the
pact force in two stages with the spring 27 absorbing
safety device to absorb the major portion of the energy
energy in the ?rst stage of reaction and the piston 30
thereby to reduce to a safe magnitude the remaining un
acting on the body 31 to absorb energy in the second
absorbed portion of the impact force that is converted
65 stage. It can also be seen that with the yield point of
into acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle.
the body 31 near the upper end of the range of pressures
The various objects and advantages of the invention
will be apparent from the following detailed description,
taken with the accompanying drawings.
created by the spring 27 in the ?rst stage of operation
the piston 30 will begin to move as the spring 27 reaches
full compression so that there is a smooth transition from
In the drawings, which vare to be regarded as merely 70 the ?rst stage of resistance by the spring 27 and the
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment
subsequent stage of operation in which the resistance to
the impact force is created by extrusion of the body 31.
During the second stage of ‘operation in which the
the two latch members 35 contract to enter the piston
bore 45 and then under the action of the coiled spring
41 expand to the latched positions shown in broken lines
at 48 in FIG. 2. The impact force then performs work
piston 30, acting on the body 31 resists the inward move
ment of the plunger 15, the spring 27 may be compressed
solid for transmitting pressure from the thrust member
25 to the piston 30. In the preferred practice of my
by causing the piston to extrude the material of the body
31 through the discharge nozzle 20, and such extrusion
absorbs a major portion of the impact force.
invention, however, I provide the thrust member 25 with
a suitable extension 32 to keep the spring 27 from
being compressed solid and to serve as means to trans
Whenever a plunger 15 is forced inward sufficiently to
mit thrust from the plunger 15 to the piston 30 in—
cause the thrust member 25 to be latched to the corre
dependently of the spring 27 whenever the spring is 10 sponding piston 30, the energy-absorbing unit is rendered
compressed to nearly the end of its elastic limit. As
inoperative with respect to its ?rst stage of operation;
shown in FIG. 2 the extension 32 may be a metal block
and when the piston 30 is moved a substantial distance
of cylindrical con?guration dimensioned to ?t inside the
to extrude the material of the body 31, the unit is also
spring 27.
rendered inoperative with respect to its second stage of
A feature of the preferred practice of the invention 15 operation. In such an event it becomes necessary to
is the concept of providing suitable means to prevent
release the latch members 35 from the piston 30 and to
excessive recoil on the part of the spring 27 . Preferably
replenish the body 31 of extrustion material.
this end is achieved by an automatic latch that inter
It is contemplated that the thrust member 25 may be
connects the thrust member 25 and the piston 30 when
unlatched from the piston 30 simply by driving the cross
ever the spring 27 is compressed to a predetermined 20 pin 36 endwise to release the two latch members 35,
point near the upper end of its pressure range.
the cross pin being removably mounted for this purpose
In the particular construction shown in FIG. 2, the
in a diametrical bore that extends all the way through
end of the extension 32 has a large rectangular recess
the extension 32 of the thrust member.
33 to receive a pair of latch member or pawls 35 that
rare pivoted on pin 36‘ extending across the recess 33.
Each latch member 35 has a tapered nose 37 together
with an engagement shoulder 33. A suitable coiled
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that
various materials may be used for the body 31 that is
acted upon by the piston 30 for extrusion through the
nozzle 20. For example, lead or type metal may be
employed, or a suitable plastic such as suitably plasticized
spring 41 has its opposite ends hooked around the two
latch members 35 and is wrapped around the cross pin
cellulose acetate butyrate, ethyl cellulose, or polyvinyl
36 to continuously urge the two latch members 35 apart, 30 chloride acetate. Other suitably plasticized compounds
this divergent action being limited by abutment of the
two latch members against the surrounding wall of the
may be employed, or a rubber-like elastomer such as
butyl rubber.
The yield point in terms of piston pressure for a
in the positions shown in solid lines in FIG. 2.
particular selected extrusion material will depend not
For cooperation with the two latch members 35, the 35 only on the properties of the material but also on the
piston 30‘ is provided on its forward face with a large axial
diameter of the piston and the size and con?guration
bore 45, the entrance to which is preferably rounded
of the discharge nozzle 20. Thus the smaller the di
or beveled for smooth cam action against the tapered
ameter of the piston, the less thrust required to move
noses 37 of the two latch members. The inner end of
the piston against the con?ned material for extrusion of
the bore 45 is enlarged to provide an angular shoulder 40 the material, and on the other hand, the smaller the
46 for engagement by the shoulders 38 of the latch
discharge nozzle, the greater the force required for ex
recess 33.
Thus the two latch members are normally
members 35.
It is apparent that as the extension 32
With these factors in mind it is a simple matter
‘of the thrust member 25 approaches the piston 30, the
for a person skilled in the art to select an extrusion ma
tapered noses 37 of the latch members 35 contact the
entrance of the axial bore 45 of the piston and by cam
terial for the invention and to design the springs and
cylinder to carry out the desired function of absorbing
an impact force by the described two-stage operation
action the two latch members 35 contract for passage
into the bore 45. The contracted positions of the two
latch members are shown by broken lines indicated at 47
in FIG. 2.
The operation of the impact-absorbing safety device
with a smooth transition from the ?rst stage to the
second stage.
In the second form of the invention exempli?ed by FIG.
3, an energy-absorbing unit, generally designated 50, re
places each of the previously described energy-absorbing
shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 may be readily understood from
the foregoing description. The initial portion of an im
pact force against the bumper 11 is absorbed by the
springs 27 of the two energy—absorbing units 12 as the
plungers 15 initially move inward to shift the thrust
members 25 toward the pistons 35 in the two units 12.
Unless the impact force is of dangerously high mag
nitude, the rearward movement of each plunger 15 will
not exceed the ?rst stage of operation. In other words,
the thrust member 25 of the two energy-absorbing units
12 will not be shifted su?iciently close to the correspond
ing pistons 30 to cause latching operation of the latch
members 35, and each of the springs 27 remains free to
helical spring 65 that corresponds to and functions in
recoil or expand to return the thrust members 25 to
their normal forward positions in the cylinder 16. In
the same manner as the previously described spring 27.
The rear end of the helical spring 65 presses against
units 12. Each of the modi?ed units 50 is of the same
general construction as heretofore described including a
plunger 55 that extends through a bushing 56 into a pres
sure cylinder 57. The inner end 58 of the plunger 55 is
threaded into a thrust member 60‘ in the manner hereto
fore described, but in this construction the thrust member
has a heavy end wall 61 from which extends a cylinderical
wall 62 and an ‘axial extension 63, the cylindrical wall
and axial extension being preferably integral with the end
wall 61. The cylindrical wall 62 and the axial extension
63 form an annular space to receive the forward end of a
this way the arrangement shown in FIG. 1 serves as an
a piston 66 that is similar to the previously described
ordinary shock absorber or buffer means for cushioning
piston and has a similar axial bore 67 leading to an an
the eifect of relatively minor impact forces.
nular latching or engagement shoulder 68. The previ
If an impact force against the bumper 11 is of danger
ously described latch members 35 ‘are each mounted in
ously excessive magnitude, each of the plungers 15 of the 70 the usual manner on a cross pin 70, these two members
energy-absorbing units 12 will enter its second stage of
‘being mounted across a rectangular recess 72 in the end
operation in which the extension 32 of the thrust member
25 contacts the piston 30 to move the piston rearward
against the resistance of the body 31. As the extension
32 of the thrust member 25 approaches the piston 30,
of the axial extension 63 of the thrust member 60.
In this modi?ed form of the invention, it is contem
plated that the piston 66 will act upon a body 75 of
suitable material in a sealed container 76, the container
being adapted to open automatically for release of the
material in response to a high pressure from the piston 66.
The container 76, for example, may have a thin wall
which compresses to rupture in response to the high pres
tended as a limitation thereon and that modi?cations of
my invention may be made within the scope of the fol
lowing claims which de?ne the invention sought to be
covered by Letters Patent.
sure from piston 66, and to facilitate such rupturing of
I claim:
the container, the nozzle 77 of the cylinder 57 may be
1. A shock-absorbing device to be mounted in impact
provided with a bushing 78 having an inwardly directed
receiving position between an obstacle and a vehicle, said
point 80. The point 80 is positioned to puncture the con
device comprising a holder having a discharge port, a
tainer 76 when the container is expanded towards the
container containing a liquid ?uid material within said
bushing by pressure from the piston 66.
10 holder, said ?uid being ?owable through said port on
Preferably, the piston 66 is normally anchored against
impact of su?icient force to rupture said container, and
movement by suitable frangible means such as a pair of
pins 81 that extends through bores 82‘ in the wall of the
cylinder 57 into corresponding blind bores 83 in the pis
ton. The material and dimensions of the frangible pins
81 will be such that the pins will yield when the spring
65 is compressed to the point at which initial movement
of the piston is desired.
The material of the body 75 in the container 76 may be
means movable within said holder for receiving the im
pact and transmitting the force thereof to said container
to compress to rupture said container and cause said ?uid
to ?ow through said discharge port, thereby absorbing
kinetic energy of impact.
2. A shock-absorbing ‘device to be mounted in impact
receiving position between an object and a vehicle, said
device comprising a holder having a discharge port, a
normally solid if desired, but the use of a sealed container 20 sealed container containing a liquid ?uid material within
makes it practical to employ a semi-liquid material such
said holder adjacent said discharge port, means adjacent
as a suitable wax or resin solution or to employ a suit
said discharge port for puncturing said sealed container,
able liquid material or substance such as glycerin for
and means movable within said holder for receiving the
impact and transmitting the force thereof to said con
dashpot action.
The operation of this second form of the invention is 25 tainer to cause said container to compress to rupture and
said ?uid material to ?ow through said discharge port,
similar to that of the ?rst form. If an impact force is of
dangerously excessive magnitude, the spring or yielding
means 65 will be compressed during the initial portion of
the impact force and then will be latched against recoil
thereby absorbing kinetic energy of impact.
3. A shock-absorbing device to be mounted in impact
receiving position between an object and a vehicle, said
as the thrust member or forcing means 60- moves against 30 device comprising a cylinder having a discharge port at
one end thereof, a sealed container containing a liquid
the piston or wall '66 to break the retaining pins 81 to
?uid material within said cylinder adjacent said discharge
initiate the second stage of operation. In this second
port, a wall movable within said cylinder toward said
stage the piston 66 moving against the container 75 with
discharge port and said container for receiving the impact
in the cylinder or holder 57 causes the container to move
towards the nozzle or port 77 so that the container is rup 35 and transmitting the ‘force thereof to said container to
' tured by the point 80 of the bushing 78. The material of
the body 75 is released for discharge through the nozzle
to absorb energy by a dashpot action.
It will thus be seen in accordance with my invention
I have provided an arrangement which utilizes means
and method steps for absorbing kinetic energy of a mov
compress to rupture said container and cause said ?uid
material to flow through said discharge port, thereby
absorbing kinetic energy of impact.
4. A shock~absorbing device as de?ned in claim 3 which
includes frangible means within said cylinder to hold said
Wall stationary against a force of impact and to release
the wall for movement in response to a greater vforce
ing mass by ?rst absorbing an initial part of the kinetic
of impact.
energy in accordance with Hooke’s law, that is, in which
5. A shock absorbing device to be mounted in imp-act
the restoring force is proportional to the displacement, up
to the point where the restoring force reaches the yield 115 receiving position between an object and a vehicle, said
device comprising a holder having a discharge port at
point of the plastic material, and another portion of the
one end thereof, a wall movable within said holder toward
kinetic energy is absorbed in accordance with the laws
said discharge port, a sealed container containing a liquid
of plastic ?ow by overcoming the yield point of the plastic
?uid substance Within said holder between said Wall and
material and extruding it out an ori?ce. Also, as pointed
said discharge port, forcing means for movement toward
out above, preferably the means used to provide the ab
and against said movable wall in response to impact force,
sorption of energy in accordance with Hooke’s law, when
and yielding means engaging said forcing means to resist
reaching the yield point of the plastic material, is locked
movement of said forcing means toward said movable
in position or otherwise prevented from rebounding so
wall, said yielding means receiving the impact and absorb
that the absorbing system absorbs the kinetic energy with
ing a part of the kinetic energy of impact and transmitting
out any kick-back or rebound. The proportion of the
the remaining force of said impact to said movable wall
kinetic energy absorbed in accordance with Hooke’s law,
and to said container to compress to rupture said con
that is, by the spring, for example, in which the restor
tainer and cause said ?uid material to ?ow through said
ing force is proportional to the displacement will be pref
discharge port, thereby absorbing the remaining kinetic
erably su?icient to avoid the usual shock resulting from
energy of impact.
an impact of a moving mass and the nest of the kinetic
6. A shock-absorbing device as ‘de?ned in claim 5,
energy will be absorbed by plastic extrusion as described
which includes frangible means within said holder to hold
above to let the mass slow down easily. Usually in ac
said wall stationary against a force of impact and to
cordance with my method and device a suf?cient quantity
release the wall for movement in response to a greater
of plastic will be supplied in the device to enable it,
taking into consideration the kinetic energy absorbed by 65 force of impact.
the spring to absorb all the kinetic energy that it is ex
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
pected will have to be absorbed to bring the moving mass
to the desired velocity, including zero, that is, to a stop.
Williamson __________ __ Ian. 26, 1897
This application is a division of application Serial No.
Young ______________ __ Dec. 17, 1907
617,648, ?led October 22, 1956, and of Serial No. 228,847,
Ventura -.' __________ __ Feb. 19, 1929
?led May 29, 1951 (both now abandoned).
Bullough ____________ __ June 17, 1930
It will he understood that the speci?c embodiments of
my invention described above are intended to illustrate
and exemplify my invention and are not necessarily in 75
Fritsch ______________ __ Apr. 7, 1931
(Other references on following page)
‘Procotie?-Seversky _____ June 23, 1931
Ridge ______________ __ Sept. 5,
‘Parks _______________ __ Feb. 4,
Booharin ____________ __ Jan. 17,
Jones _______________ __ July 16,
Williams et al. ________ __ Aug. 5,
Thornhill ____________ .._ Jan. 23,
Noonan ______________ __ Apr. 5,
Camarero ___________ __ May 15,
Hight _______________ __ June 19,
1939 5
1951 10
Blue __; _____________ __ July 31, 1951
Pierce ______________ __ Oct. 9, 1951
Pegard _____________ __ Oct. 28, 1952
De Vost et a1 _________ __ Jan. 24, 1956
Butler ________ __' ____ __ Oct. 29, 1957
Dropkin _____________ __ June 3, 1958
Stott ________________ __ Oct. 28, 1958
Great Britain ________ __ July 4, 1951
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