NUNEATON, UK - High-speed X-ray photography has emerged as a potential safety engineering tool, following two years of study at MIRA.
The X-ray photos are taken during crash tests at 1,000 frames per second in a large format (1.2x0.8 meters).
MIRA researchers say the system is a dramatic improvement over existing high-speed crash films and videos.
The X-ray photos reveal movements of small mechanical parts that are hidden to regular photos. In its first application at MIRA, the system is being used to study intrusion into the footwell and lower leg injuries.
'We have seen some very exciting pictures which, until now, we have never been able to obtain,' said MIRA project leader Fabrice Delaroche.
'The footwell is normally out of sight of conventional film and video cameras mounted outside the vehicle, and is far too restricted for internal cameras to be used.
'This will improve our understanding of footwell intrusion and what needs to be engineered to minimize injuries.'
Automotive safety experts who have seen the system have been 'very keen to learn about the technique and to discover how we managed to overcome the technical barriers,' said Delaroche.
Vehicle areas which MIRA considers suitable for examination by high-speed X-ray include pedestrian safety, seat belt reels and internal engine components.