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Impact and injury response of long track speed skaters

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Author: Forbes, P.A. · Swartjes, F.H.M. · Ruimerman, R. · Willems, J.W.M.
Institution: TNO Industrie en Techniek
Source:SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars - Electronic and Electrical Systems, 1, 1, 1149-1162
SAE Technical Papers
Identifier: 360854
Article number: 2008-01-1923
Keywords: Safety · accident analysis · friction testing · safety engineering


The following study presents a combined numerical-experimental investigation into the impact and injury response of long track speed skaters when impacting the protective boarding around the track. The high speeds common within the sport combined with the inherent slipperiness of the ice create a high probability for falls. When falling, racers inevitably impact the safety boarding surrounding the track with a high velocity. Despite the safety measures taken, severe injuries are still occurring. The methods used within this study include an accident analysis study, experimental boarding impact and friction testing, and numerical simulation of both the experimental boarding impacts and recreated human skater impact cases. The method is applied to a modern boarding design, showing skater impact injury sensitivity to impact velocity and angle. Further skater injury response increases were observed when boarding pressure, friction and attachment height were varied. The approach developed here is considered applicable for other boarding designs and a useful approach/tool for establishing safety response requirements as it allows for objective comparison between boardings of a completely different design. © 2008 SAE International.