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Publication numberUS2916324 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 8, 1959
Filing dateJan 9, 1956
Priority dateJan 9, 1956
Publication numberUS 2916324 A, US 2916324A, US-A-2916324, US2916324 A, US2916324A
InventorsPhillip Graham
Original AssigneePhillip Graham
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safe conveyance body
US 2916324 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 8, 1959 GRAHAM 2,916,324

SAFE CONVEYANCE BODY Filed Jan. 9, 1956 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 l I ,III/IIIIII/III/II/I INVENTOR.

Phi/ll}: Graham ATTORNEY Dec. 8, 1959 W P. GRAHAM SAFE CONVEYANCE BODY Filed Jan. 9, 1956 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR Phi/lip Graham TORNEY Filed Jan. 9, 1956 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG. l5

n. ill/l/IIIIIIIIIIIIIII I III/I'll, u

g A K? INVEANTOR. \\/5 P/H/A Gra am ATTORN EY United States Patent SAFE CONVEYANCE BODY Phillip Graham, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Application January 9, 1956, Serial No. 557,938 I 15 Claims. Cl. 296-28) This invention relates to a cushionable auto body and the like that has a plastic shell which is slightly resilient. The body, according to the present invention, will yield and rebound without permanent deformation from the impacts of most collision-s, which'impacts would severely damage conventional auto bodies. Under more violent colliding forces, the body will be damaged while gradually yielding in absorbing and diverting the violent forces. Thus the body would be expendable to protectively cushion the occupants of the conveyance.

This invention is an improvement over my Patents Nos. 2,826,788 and 2,827,305, entitled Curved Barrier. While this type of safe conveyance body would be most useful for vehicles such as automobiles, it may also be used for trucks, buses, highway trailers, planes, small boats, and other structures.

Common automobile bodies do not provide adequate protection for their occupants during violent collisions. Automobile accidents that occur in the United States during a year cause about 35,000 deaths and over 1,000,000 injuries. Property damage in these accidents causes losses of many millions of dollars, most of which damage is to the automobiles or vehicles involved in the accidents. Common automob le bodies that are involved in violent collisions, fail without adequately cushioning the severe collision forces. The common automobile body crumples to an extent because the shell and framing are of such shapes that they offer little resistance to violent collision forces. The shell buckles under minor impact forces. The collision forces are absorbed by the action of crumpling and tearing of the steel members of an automobile, which destroys these members and creates inadequate cushioning action. The automobile bodyfails locally and almost instantly at the point of impact since the body does not have the means to spread the initial impact force into a greater mass of the body that will be able to resist it. The massive heavy bumpers of common automobiles offer little protection since their shape and their connections to the chassis offer little cushioning of the violent collision thrusts. These heavy bumpers create a visual impression that they are strong and effective guards, thus giving the occupants a false sense of security. The shape of the common automobile body creates the impression that the structure is strong, which also gives the occupants a false sense of security. Generally, the occupants of common automobile bodies are killed or injured when the body fails to an extent that the occupants compartment is penetrated by failing members, such as the motor and the lower portion of the steering column. The common automobile body has very little resistance against violent collision forces that strike it broadside.

A vehicle body embodying the principles of this invention offers protection against the violent forces of collisions in which it is involved, since it will yield, and cushion or divert the violent impacts. The vehicle body will rebound from most minor impact loads. The body has means 'to yieldingly resist more violent forces by progressively yielding while resisting, and then collapsing in steps to absorb andcushion the collision force, also to divert some of the force downward to the roadway Which absorbs it. Furthermore there is means to divert some of the force upwardly which diversion absorbs some of the force by lifting the automobile. The body, being resilient, tends to bounce'harmles sly away from heavy objects it sideswipes or collides with at an angle, rather than to become entangled with the objects and to be dragged into further hazards. Furthermore, the rcsilient body will tend to cushion the shock of the contact with a pedestrian it may strike, thus tending to reduce the possible injury to the pedestrian, and after the re silient shell has deflected the vehicle body will tend to rebound and propel or bounce the struck pedestrian away from the vehicle and thus out of its path, thus reducing the possibility of dragging the pedestrian or throwing him into the path of the wheels. 1

The interior of the conveyance body may have yieldab le bowed paneled cushionable barriers to act during a collision to cushion the forces of the occupants and loose objects that are hurled against the barriers by the ,momentum. Curved barriers are described in my Patents Nos. 2,826,788 and 2,827,305.

An object to my invention is to provide a safe, durable conveyance body that will cushion, absorb, or, divert violent collision forces and thus prevent injurylto the people in the collision as, well as to prevent or reduce the damage to the conveyance and the element it collides with. The body is expendable to safeguard the occupants from ultraviolent collision forces, which cause portions of the conveyance body to collapse after they have cushionedand absorbed much of the forces.

Other objects of my invention will become more ap' parent from the following description taken with the accompanying drawings wherein:

Figure 1 is a fragmentary plan view of an automobile;

Figure 2 is an elevational view taken along line 2-2 of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a fragmentary line 3-3 of Figure 1;

Figure 4 is a fragmentary sectional elevational view taken along line 4-4 of Figure 2;

Figure 5 is a fragmentary sectional plan view taken along line 5-5 of Figure 2;

Figure 6 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 6-6 of Figure 2;

Figure 7 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 7-7. of Figure 2;

Figure ,8 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along .line 8-8 of Figure 1;

Figure 9 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 9-9 of Figure 8;

Figure 10 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 10-10 of Figure 8;

Figure 11 is a fragmentarysectional view similar to Figure 8, but showing a portion of the vehicle body flattened by a colliding object;

Figure 12 is an enlarged fragmentary elevational view taken from the exterior or convex side of the body shell;

Figure 13 is an enlarged fragmentary elevational view taken from the concave side of the ribs and body shell;

Figure 14 is a fragmentary sectional view taken along line 14-14 of Figure 12;

Figure 15 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along line 15-15 of Figure 2;

Figure 16 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along line 16-16 of Figure 2;

Figure 17 is a fragmentary sectional view taken through a bumper pad;

elevational view taken along Figure 18 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to Figure 14, showing a modification with a sheet metal skin on the plastic shell.

. The automobile illustrated in thedrawings has a yieldable resilient body. Broadly stated, the vehicle body in accordance with the present invention consists of bowed plastic shell portions with yieldable ties across the chords of the bows of the shells. Collision impacts cause the bowed shells to yield by flattening partially, and the yieldable ties to yield by stretching until the forces are absorbed, or diverted. The vehicle body shell of slightly resilient plastic is shaped and positioned to obtain optimum cushioning effect and strength when used with a small amount of metal. The plastic shell may have fiber glass strands impregnated in it to strengthen it. The plastic vehicle body is light in weight. The low weight of the body keeps the momentum low, thus causing collision impacts to be lower than that of heavier vehicles. The light weight vehicle can be stopped quicker on icy roadways when tire friction to the roadway is negligible. The light weight vehicle is more likely to bounce away from a heavy object it collides with than would a heavier vehicle. A heavier vehicle would have more tendency to collapse from a violent impact.

The shell of the body is confined to maintain highly efficient arched or bowed shapes to its body sections. The bowed shapes act as arched compression members since they yield and flatten partially in cushioning impacts. While flattening partially, the impact load is diverted and spread over greater portions of the body so that it can be resisted by the larger portions of the body that are brought into play, to thus slow down the momentum gradually by absorbing the forces gradually. There are yieldable spring ties across the chords of the bowed shell sections that yield to an extent and absorb much of the violent force. There are ribs that can yieldably flatten as they help to maintain arched shapes to the shell portions as they partially flatten. The confined arched shapes are used to obtain optimum load carrying efficiency of the shell material. As the plastic is compressed, it becomes progressively more resistant to the force that tends to further compress it. Thus much of the force is absorbed in greatly compressing the fibers of the arched shell.

The vehicle body illustrated is substantially symmetrical about its longitudinal and transverse axes, except that the doors are off-center and other minor differences that are obvious. The vehicle body is shaped to provide an efficient functional structure. The ends and the sides of the vehicle body have the highly yieldable and resilient features to cause cushioning actions from collision impacts, also to a more limited degree, these features are incorporated into the top, the hood, and the trunk lid. The arched shape of the front and rear of the vehicle body is shown as being of substantially identical structural features as head-on collisions and rear-end collisions of intense magnitude are frequent events. The yieldable roof, hood, and trunk cover would be useful safeguards when an automobile rolls over. The hood and the trunk lid are sloped downwardly and outwardly to allow the driver more visibility of the roadway, also to form a stronger shaped vehicle body.

The forward plastic shell section 1 and the rear shell section 2 are substantially identical. The resilient bumper pads 3 may be fastened to the shell to engage common knobbed bumpers of other vehicles and the like during collisions to act as a cushion, as a buffer, and as a means to spread the impact over a greater area of the shell. Thus the pads 3 tend to prevent the puncturing of the shell. The pads 3 may be air filled tubes of rubber and nylon fabric that are similar in construction to inflated single tube tires. As shown in Figure 17, the pads 3 may have metal facings 3a to contact the opposing cars bumper to distribute the impact over a large area of the resilient pad 3 and thus to a large area of the shell 1;

The facings 3a restrain the pads 3 from bulging outward except at the sides. The pads 3 and the facings 3a bend and flatten with the shell 1 during a violent collision. Resilient straps 3b fasten the facing 3a to the shell 1. The facings 3a hold the pads 3 against the shell 1. The door 4 acts in unison with the adjacent body members to maintain continuity of stress carrying features to distribute the collision forces to a greater section of the body. The roof shell 5 is yieldable to cushion impacts on it when the vehicle rolls over. The hood shell 6 and the trunk lid shell 7 are slightly yieldable to allow them to yield under impacts on their convex surfaces, such as during roll overs. The hood 6 and the lid 7 securely engage adjoining body members to brace and tie the body together, so thrusts can be spread widely into the body structure until enough structure is brought into play to absorb the thrusts.

Channel members 8a and 8b are curved in length to a horse-shoe like shape. They are members that take impact thrusts from the upper portion of the vertical bowed shell sections. Channels 9 are periphery chassis members. They take impact thrusts from the lower portion of the vertical bowed shell sections. The rigid roof framing members 10a, 10b and are rigidly supported by the posts 11a and 11b. The center rib-like posts 12:: and 12b, may be portions of a yieldable arched rib that is incorporated into the roof structure. The yieldable arched rib yields with the roof shell during roll-overs, to act as a cushion. The cross members 13a and 1312 may support the ends of the center roof rib arch. The members 13a and 13b are supported by the channels 8a and 8b.

The center rib-like posts 12a and 12b are not highly objectionable as to their blocking vision since the center window areas are often obscured, preventing viewing through them during the worst driving conditions, such as during rain, and snow storms, as the windshield wipers do not clean these areas.

The door latches 14 may be made similar to those used on fireproof vault doors. The latches 14 are sup ported by framing on the interior sides of the doors 4. Mud guards 15 may be made of highly elastic plastic, which do not restrain the body from being depressed inwardly under impacts. Snow, ice, and mud tend to break loose from the elastic guards 15 since the guards flex from vibration and jolts of the vehicle on roadways. The mud guards 15 flex to cushion the forces of crushed stones, cinders, and the like that are thrown against them by the wheels. Also the plastic eliminates the noise of such'matter striking the guards. Furthermore, the guards yield and cushion the forces from broken tire chains and eliminate noise from the pounding of such broken chains. The guards 15 do not corrode from chemical action of cinders, salt, and soil.

The curved ceiling panel 16 may be a flexible yieldable panel cushion. The motor 17 and other members in the lower portion of the vehicle are shown by the dot-dash outline in Figure 5.

As shown in Figure 8, the wire spring tie 18 forms a resilient tie across the chord line of the shell 1. Wire fasteners 19 fasten the top and bottom edges of the shell 1 to the retainers. The tie 18 is fastened to the reinforcing wire 20c and 20d in the bulb-like edgings of the shell 1. The wire 20d is spirally coiled to allow it to yield locally. As shown in Figures 8, 12, 13 and 14, the shell 1 has a wire grid 20 encased in it with the wires positioned horizontally and vertically at right angles to each other. A second similar grid 20a may be superimposed on the grid 20 and be fastened to it where the grids contact each other. The grid wires may be fused together in welding so the joint of intersecting wires is flattened to one thickness. The wires in the grid 2011 are positioned 45 degrees from those in the grid 20. The plastic of the shell may have fiber glass reinforcing, in addition to the grid Wires. The wire grids effectively restrain the shell 1 from shearing, tearing and cracking from minor force's, thus a large portion of the shell is made to act as a unit to absorb and resist collision forces. The wire grids are members that resist tension and shear. The wire in the grids may be flat to allow them to bend more readily When subjected to compressive forces.

As shown in Figure 8, a retainer bar 21a is welded to the channel 8a. The retainer bar 21b is riveted to the channel 8a. The retainer bars form a socket-like recess to engage and securely hold the bulb-like top edging of the shell 1, also it acts as a bearing bar for the upper end of the top rib 27. The tie-post 22 is attached at its bottom to the channel 9 and its top is attached to the resilient steel bar 23 and the limit bolt 24. This type of tie and support allows the hood 6 and the trunk lid 7 to yield and cushion the shock of an impact on their top surface during roll-overs. The bar 23 and the bolt 24 prevent the channel 8a and adjoining parts from rising when, an impact on the side of the shell 1 tends to raise the upper portion of the vehicle body. The tie 23 is yieldable downwardly but not upwardly. As shown in Figures 8, and 11, the sliding retainer 25 takes the thrust from the lower edge of the shell 1. The retainer 25 can slide down the tie-post 22 as the shell 1 is spread in flattening under an impact. The retainers 25 act as cantilevered beams to allow the shell to spread. The contact surfaces of the retainer 25 may be thinly coated with resilient plastic to eliminate chattering noise from vibration and road shocks. The retainer 25 may be tack welded lightly to channel 9 to restrain the shell and ties from flexing sl'ghtly from vibration and road shocks. This would eliminate squeaks and chattering noises. Such light tack welds would break readily when collision forces acted on the shell. Retainer bars 25a are short members that are fastened to the retainers 25. The bar 25a grips the lower bulb-like edging of the shell 1 and acts as a bearing bar for the end of the lower rib 27. The spokelike radial ties 26 may be used to restrain the shell 1 from bulging outwardly when the shell is struck during a collision. The ties 26 are fastened to the grid wires in the shell 1 and to the tie post 22. The ties 26 do not materially prevent the shell 1 from excessively bulging inwardly under a localized impact that tends to destroy the arched shape of the shell 1. Ribs 27 and 28 may be used to maintain an arched shape to the shell 1 during a collision until the arched bowed shape is flattened just short of the state of collapsing. The wires 26 may be used with the ribs 27 and 28, or either the ribs or the tie wires may be used solely to restrain or confine the shell 1 to maintain a substantially bowed shape. The light-weight wires 26 take a direct pull from the shell, thus they are efficiently used. The ribs 27 and 28 may yield under an impact, while maintaining pressure on the shell 1 to maintain an arched shape to the deflecting shell. The adjoining rib tips 315 or ribs 27 and 28 are shaped to limit the flattening and the bowing of the rib assembly.

The shell 1 may have rib-like portions 112 and 1b to stitfen the shell and to provide more thickness around the wires of the grids 2t) and 20a, to thus increase the shells resistance against the tendency of the grid wires to rip out of the shell during an impact. There is a wire grid system 29 that links the ribs 27 and 28 together. The ribs pivot with these grid wires acting as hinges when the shell area bearing against them flattens during a collision. There is a hole at the intersection of the wires in the grid 29 to allow the Wire 26 to project through it. The wires of the grid 29 may be fused together and be flattened and pierced while hot to form this type of in tersection. The hole has a loose fit with the wire 26, to allow the wire to slide slightly when the body flattens and a portion of the shell 1 spreads to the extent that the wire 26 is bent at the shell.

The offsets 30 on the wires 26 tend to hold the ribs 27 and 28 close to the shell 1. Since the length of the arc of the shell 1 tends to become equal to that of the rib assembly asthe members spread and flatten, there is cornpensating means to allow this fluctuation. The shell-1 shortens to an extent when it is compressed by an impact. The ribs 27 may have rib tips 31a attached to .engage the retainer bars 21b and 25a. The rib tips 31a may have spring portions to allow the rib system to gradually lengthen to compensate for the fluctuation. The rib tips 31a and 31b may be made of metal to allowtheir small bearing areas to withstand the pressures. The ribs 27 and 28 may have limit eyes similar to those shown for the horizontal rib sections 32. The horizontal rib sections 32 at the front and rear of the vehicle may have limit eyes 32a to allow limited yielding when the arched length of the shell 1 flattens partially. The intermediate portion of the. width of the shell 1 in the horizontal arcs of the front and rear of the body are highly compressed by front or rear collision impacts. The resilient plastic shell is compressible. The horizontal ribs 32 have this limit means to allow the ribs to yield to a limit that maintains an arched shape that can resist forces further without materially yielding, unless very violent forces are not absorbed wholly and such forces cause the shell to rupture and collapse.

The spring tie sheets 33 may be made of high carbon steel to act as springs in the tie system to absorb thrusts that are diverted from the collision impact area into the arch. The sheets 33 have corrugations to allow them to flex. The spring 33 straightens under severe collision impacts and then rebounds to its original shape after the force is released. Sheets 33 may be pulled. apart to absorb force after they have reached their limit of deflection. New sheets 33 could be readily attached to replace the sheets that are pulled apart. Sheets33 are shown as short members spanning between retainers 25. The sheets 33 are short so the shell 1 can deflect locally. Sheets 33 may be made of less resilient steel that permanently deforms when stretched, which sheets absorb collision forces in stretching and possibly breaking. The tie sheet 34 is fastened to the channel 8a, the tie post 22, and the sheets 33. It also securely engages the up,- per edging of the shell 1. The bottom of the spring 33 securely engages the lower edging of the shell 1. At the upper portion of sheet 34 are two corrugations thatmay yield during a roll-over since the tie system can yield downwardly from impacts above. The sheet 34 may be highly resilient to allow a rebounding action. Sheets 33 and 34 act as an inner shell. Sheet 35 is a corrugated stiffener that may be used, particularly around the front and around the rear of the vehicle body; where its arched shape resists a great compressive force to absorb much of a collision force before the arch collapses. Sheets 35 are fastened, such as by welding, to tie sheet 34 to prevent it from flattening or spreading in width. A seal 36 at the hood 6 bears against the shell 1. Highly compressible resilient insulation 39, such as fiber glass, may be placed in the segmental space betweenthe shell 1 and its chord line. It would act as a cushioning means and as an insulation. The front of the vehicle body shell has perforations to allow air to pass through to reach and cool the radiator. Resilient tubes 40 attached to these openings pass through the steel tie sheet 34.

When vehicles traveling athigh velocities collide, they create collision forces of great magnitude. To safeguard the occupants as much as possible, broad means can be used to safely cushion, divert, and absorb these violent forces. The curved barriers described in my co-pending applications may be used in the interiors of automobiles to cushion the occupants during collisions. A curved barrier B is shown in the forward portion of th einterior of the automobile. The interiors of the automobiles may also be padded where the barriers do not furnish cushioning means.

During very violent collisions, the vehicle body must yield effectively to adequately cushion collision impacts to protect the occupants. The yielding must be limited -will tear, buckle, and crush portions of so'the occupants compartment remains intact and it is not penetrated by failing portions of the vehicle. The more violent collision impacts against the vehicle body the body. The body yields gradually as it absorbs impact forces. The impact resistance and yielding of the front of the body is as follows. The resilient shell, ribs, and ties yield while the shell maintains a bowed shape that causes the shell to act in compression. Force is absorbed to stretch the-spring ties, bend the resilient plastic and compress the fibers of the shell with the compressive arched force. After the limit of yielding of the spring ties is reached, further force can be absorbed by the pull on the ties until they break, if the ties are so proportioned that they reach their limit of deflection before the shell strikes the roadway 38. The limit of the partial flattening of the shell while maintaining an arched shape caused by either its contact to the roadway 38 or by the spring ties holding after yielding, causes the shell 1 to resist as an arch withoutyielding materially, unless the force is so great as to cause further yielding until the ribs bear against the arched sheet 34. The arched sheet 34 is confined and strengthened by its relationship with the portions of the front of the vehicle body consisting of the channel 9, the channel 8a, the tie post 22 with its connectors, and sheet 35. This portion of the body forms a lateral arched structure that is stiffened by the hood 6 and the motor 17. The hood 6 is kept securely latched in position. The hood edging is keyed to the top of channel 8a so that it ties the front of the body together and can effectively transmit stresses. When a collision force almost flattens a portion of the shell 1 to the shape shown in Figure 11", the ribs 27 and 28 bear against the arched sheet 34. The tie post 22 behind the sheet 34 prevents the sheet 34 from readily buckling. The corrugations in the sheet 34 and the corrugated sheet 35 also restrain the sheet 34 from buckling. The tie posts transmit force from the ribs 27 and 28 into the channels 8a and 9. If this action does not absorb the force, the localized pressure on the arched front portion of the body tends to deform the arched members 8a, 9, 34, 35, and the shell 1, and cause them to bend and collapse. The hood 6 resists the tendency to deform the channel 8a until it buckles or is torn loose.

The bowed shell 1 is shown tilted. This tilting allows a low impact from bumpers on another car to cause the shell 1 to deflect with a flattening action. If the bow of the shell were not tilted, an impact close to the bottom of shell 1 such as from object 37 would cause breakage rather than the partial flattening and cushioning action. Since the center of gravity of a loaded automobile is above the axles, in a very violent head-on crash, a common automobile tends to nose down. The front of this automobile body tends to rise when it strikes low against a colliding object such as object 37 shown in Figure 8. The impact force is diverted into the arch of the shell 1 which spreads the chord of the shell as it flattens partially under the thrust. The impact force is diverted downwardly towards the roadway and upwardly, which tends to lift the automobile body. The lifting action can absorb a great amount of force in lifting the automobile with its occupants. Thus, force is expended in the lifting action, rather than allowing it to break automobile body members. If the force lifts an end of the automobile off the roadway, the tires will cushion the fall after the force has been expended in the lifting action. When the automobile noses up, the occupants are forced down in their seats to an extent if they are held to their seats with safety belts. The tendency of the impact to lift the vehicle tends to throw the occupants who are not held by safety belts against the intermediate portion of the curved barrier B where there is the most cushioning means. When the shell 1 is struck high above its center by object 37a, there is less force absorbed in the lifting action than from the force of an object 37.

The vehicle body members may be proportioned so the lower edge of the shell 1 will spread down in flattening under a violent impact until the retainer 25 strikes the roadway 38. The adjacent edge portions of the shell 1 will yield and strike the roadway 38. The striking forces of the retainers and the shell against the roadway 38 transmit much force into the roadway, thus harmlessly diverting and absorbing it. When some retainers 25 and portions of the shell 1, strike the roadway 38, while the collision force is still flattening and spreading the shell 1, the spreading action tends to lift or jack-up the body near the point of impact. During a very violent head-on collision, the spreading and lifting effect tends to bend up the whole front of the vehicle, including everything from the hood 6 down to the front wheel springs. This bending and lifting action absorbs considerable force. The bending tends to deform the laterally arched shape of the front of the vehicle so the latter portion of the colliding force tends to crush it. Thus the front of the body could be almost completely destroyed to cushion and absorb the violent forces, while the portion of the body housing the occupants remains intact. Since the motor is fastened to the channel 9, when the channel 9 bends up, it tilts the motor 17. Thus the motor 17 will be tilted up on end during a very violent crash, rather than be pushed directly back into the occupants compartment. While the uplifting action is progressing, the lateral forces compress the arched front of the automobile body. When the various strains cause breakage, the front portion of the body tends to gradually collapse and be crushed if the remaining force is great enough to cause that action. When the shell spreads downwardly and one or more retainers 25, and portions of the shell edging bear or snag into the roadway 38, particularly a black-top type roadway, the holding engagement to the roadway tends to prevent the lower adjacent portion of the shell 1 from failing inwardly, thus tending to maintain a lateral arched shape to the front of the body. The body members may be proportioned so the ties 18 and 33 will reach their limit of deflection and resist the force until they are ruptured by being pulled apart just short of the position where the lower edge of the shell 1 contacts the roadway 38. The ties 18 may be proportioned so they will reach their limit of deflection and break, before the ties 33 reach their deflection limit. Thus the ties could be broken to absorb considerable force and prevent a violent rebound from the colliding object 37. When the ties are broken and a portion of the lower edge of the body shell structure strikes and bears against the roadway 38, the portion of the body above it will continue to act usefully by diverting the arched thrust from the shell 1 into the roadway.

The vehicle body members may be proportioned so that the roadway surface acts as a limit for the spreading of the shell, the springs having deflection latitude past the roadway limiting means.

The portion of the body bearing against the roadway 38 or the shoulder of such a roadway tends to snag and create a great deal of friction if the vehicle continues to move after striking an object 37, which may be a guard rail. The friction would absorb force and tend to stop the car movement. Thus if a guard rail yields and fails, the friction or snagging action may stop the car before it reaches the outer edge of the roadway shoulder.

The body may be designed so the shell 1 does not spread down as far as the roadway. This type of arrangement would be more limited in diverting and absorbing forces.

An automobile body of more limited usefulness may be made without ties across the chord of shell 1, the shell 1 will spread and divert the forces downwardly to the roadway and upwardly in lifting actions.

Such an automobile body shell may be of stiff or brittle plastic with reinforcing.

Strong brittle plastic would be highly useful with a thin flexible binder skin similar to the steel sheet 51 shown in Figure 18. The brittle plastic would absorb force to crack it, and the cracked fragments would act like stones in a stone arch to momentarily resist in compression while diverting the thrust into the roadway 38 and into the lifting action before the shell collapses.

Figure 15 shows the typical roof and ceiling details, also the door header and the upper portion of the door 4. The periphery of the roof may have resilient cushioning means to cushion impacts during roll-overs. Strong resilient curved steel bars 41 may be attached to the rigid framing 10a, 10b and 100, to form a cushioning means. The ends of the bars 41 may be inserted into holes in the framing members. The dished roof shell may have an offset 5a to project out past the rigid framing to engage and cover the rods 41, to act with the rods 41 to cushion impacts and to act as a trim. The roof edging will cushionably yield during roll-overs in either direction.

As shown in Figure 15, the end of the shell 5 is fastened to the resilient crimped steel tie sheet 42. The sheet 42 is attached to the outer face of the member 100. The end of the offset 5a is fastened to the sheet 42.

During roll overs, the shell 5 flattens to an extent when impacted on its intermediate portion. The plastic in the shell 5 compresses to an extent from the impact force. The impact force is diverted into the arched directions of the shell 5.

The sheet 42 has crimps at right angles to each other, which allows it to yield when the shell 5 flattens. The sheet 42 can slide against the top of member c as it stretches. The vertical edging of the sheet 42 being fastened at the bottom is allowed to bend, or hinge out.

There are fingers punched upwards from sheet 42, to act as anchors for the roof sheet 5.

The curved plastic ceiling panel 16 is curved in one direction to form a safety barrier similar to that described in my co-pending applications; the sheet 42 acts as the tie for the panel 43 in addition to being a tie for the shell 5. The panel 16 is fastened to the tie 42 and it may be attached as shown to the ribs in the shell 5. There is a gap between the end of the panel 16. and the member 10a, to allow the panel to flatten to an extent When the occupant is thrown against it. The shell 5 and the panel 16 may be connected with hangers or ties 43.

The door 4 may have a curved safety barrier 44 built into its inner portion. The barrier 44 has a catch or snubber to prevent violent rebounding of an occupant who is hurled against it during a collision. The barrier 44 has a transparent portion to allow visibility through the window. The bulb-like cushion 45 is attached to the member 10c at the door. The cushion 45 may be. made of, plastic that is resilient enough to, allow it to deflect without cracking, when an occupant is thrown against it. It may be an inflated elastic tube of rubber and nylon. The top of the barrier 44 will bear against the member 10c when the barrier is flattened by the force of an occupants body that is hurled against it during a collision. The barrier 45 spreads downwardly when flattening. The door 4 has a, bowed shell, ties and tie-posts similar to arrangement shown in Figure 8. The door 4 has an angle iron 46 along its bottom. The tie-posts 47 in the door 4 are attached to the angle 46. The angle 46 bears against the channel 9. The tops of the tie-posts 47 are rigidly fastened to the horizontal cross piece 48. The floor 49 of the vehicle stiffens the chassis channel 9, restraining the channel 9 from bending from the thrust of an impact against the shell of the door 4. Since collision impacts are inverted and spread to large enough portions of the body to allow the forces to be absorbed, the door 4 has offsets 4a and 4b to engage grooved keyway-like portions of the shells 1 and 2, as shown in Figure 16. These interlocking parts allow both tensile stresses and 10 compressive stresses to be transmitted through the door structure. The latch 14 tends to hold the door shell in alignment with the shells 1 and 2.

During an automobile collision, the driver is usually injured by the steering wheel and its shaft. A round padded steel bearing plate 50 may be securely mounted within the wheel with spoke-like connections to provide a large surface for the occupants body to bear against during a collision. The momentum of the drivers body is safely transmitted to the steering wheel, to bend the wheel and possibly the steering column to cushion the driver, 'to allow more space and time for deceleration. The padded plate 50 prevents people from being injured by the narrow steering wheel rim, spokes and the steering column end. The plate 50 acts as a bufier against a steering column that is pushed in by its lower portion being impacted by a colliding object. The steering wheel may protrude past the end of the steering column to provide more cushioning space when the wheel is bent in.

Figure 18 shows a fragment of a modified automobile body shell. A metal skin 51 is on the convex side of the plastic shell 1. The tie wire 26 is fastened, such as by welding, to the metal skin 51. This modification allows the use of steel sheets as the metal skin 51, with the plastic giving thickness to the shell to restrain it from buckling to an extent. This type of body shell is permanently deformed by violent collision forces. It pro, vides cushioning action to a degree and thus offers some protection to the occupants. The skin 51 may be used as the shell without the plastic 1. Ribs and ties may be used effectively with such an arrangement.

While I have illustrated and described certain specific embodiments of my invention, it will be understood that these are by way of illustration only, and that various changes and modifications may be made within the contemplation of my invention and within the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. In combination with a vehicle having a body shell portion formed of a thin flexible sheet of substantially rigid material formed to have a shape of a bow in one direction, said how extending outwardly of the body and having substantially constant radius of curvature throughout, said vehicle including a framework portion which supports opposite extremities of said bow in a manner so that at least one of said extremities is outwardly yieldable in a direction away from the other as the result of impact with an object on the convex surface of said how, to allow partial flattening of said how, and means for preventing buckling of said bow from said impact, arcuate edges of said body shell portion being secured to adjacent portions of the vehicle body, the said adjacentportions coacting with said body shell portion to restrain said body shell portion from deforming to an extent by. diverting some of the said impact force into the said, adjacent portions, whereby the various portions of the vehicle body act as a unit to absorb larger forces than can be absorbed by the said body shell portion alone.

2. A vehicle body as recited in claim 1 wherein said means comprises a stiffening means distributedv throughoutsaid' how.

3. A vehicle body as recited in claim 1 wherein said means comprises a plurality of spaced, rigid supports extending across the concave portion of said how.

4. A vehicle body as recited in claim 1 wherein said sheet is of plastic material.

5. A vehicle body as recited in claim 1 wherein said sheet is of metal.

6. A vehicle body as recited in claim 1 wherein said sheet has embedded therein a reinforcing material.

7. A vehicle body as recited in claim 1 wherein one of said extremities is fixed and the other is slidably 11 mounted on said framework portion to permit said outward movement under impact.

8. A vehicle body as recited in claim 1 together with spring means secured to said framework portion and in engagement with the yieldable extremity of said bowed portion for yieldably supporting said outwardly yieldable extremity.

9. A vehicle body portion as recited in claim 1 wherein said body portion extends substantially horizontally of the vehicle.

10. A vehicle body having a perimetrical shell portion outwardly bowed in a horizontal and vertical direction, at least the lower end of said portion being yieldably mounted for downward movement away from the upper end as the result of impact of an object against the convex surface thereof, and a plurality of stiffening elements extending in end-to-end relationship and in engagement with the concave surface of said bowed portion in at least the vertical direction between said ends and which elements are relatively pivotally movable to a limited extent so as to prevent buckling or abnormal distortion of said outwardly bowed portion and maintain curvature thereof, arcuate edges of said shell portion being secured to adjacent portions of the vehicle body, the said adjacent portions coacting with said shell portionto restrain said shell portion from deforming to an extent by diverting some of the said impact forces into the said adjacent portions, whereby the various portions of the vehicle body act as a unit to absorb larger forces than can be absorbed by the said shell portion alone.

11. A vehicle body having a perimetrical shell portion outwardly bowed in a vertical direction, at least the lower end of said portion being yieldably mounted for downward movement away from the upper end as the result of impact of an object against the convex surface thereof, and a plurality of stiffening elements extending in end-to-end relationship and in engagement with the concave surface of said bowed portion in the vertical direction between said ends and which elements are relatively pivotally movable to a limited extent so as to prevent buckling or abnormal distortion of said outwardly bowed portion and maintain curvature thereof, the upper end of said portion being fixed, means movably connected to said lower end of said portion and which is engageable with the roadway surface as a consequence of predetermined flattening of said portion, whereby continued impact force will tend to raise the adjacent portion of said body away from said roadway surface and thereby divert the impact force.

12. A vehicle body as recited in claim together with spring means secured to said body and engageable with said lower end of said bowed portion to permit yieldable lowering movement of said lower end as the result of flattening of said curved portion from impact against an object.

13. A vehicle body having a perimetrical shell portion outwardly bowed in a vertical direction, at least the lower end of said portion being yieldably mounted for downward movement away from the upper end as the result of impact of an object against the convex surface thereof, and a plurality of stiffening elements extending in endto-end relationship and in engagement with the concave surface of said bowed portion in the vertical direction between said ends and which elements are relatively pivotally movable to a limited extent so as to prevent buckling or abnormal distortion of said outwardly bowed portion and maintain curvature thereof, the upper end of said portion being fixed, and spring means located substantially beneath said fixed upper end for permitting yieldable lowering movement of the lower end of said portion as the result of flattening thereof as a consequence of impact, means movably connected to said lower end of said portion and which is engageable with the roadway surface as a consequence of predetermined flattening of said portion, whereby continued impact force will tend to raise the adjacent portion of said body away from said roadway surface and thereby divert the impact force.

14. A vehicle body having a perimetrical shell portion outwardly bowed in a horizontal and vertical direction, at least the lower end of said portion being yieldably mounted for downward movement away from the upper end as the result of impact of an object against the convex surface thereof, a plurality of stiffening elements extending in end-to-end relationship and in engagement with the concave surface of said bowed portion in at least the vertical direction between said ends and which elements are relatively pivotally movable to a limited extent so as to prevent buckling or abnormal distortion of said outwardly bowed portion and maintain curvature thereof, the upper end of said portion being fixed, and means movably connected to said lower end of said portion and which is engageable with the roadway surface as a consequence of predetermined flattening of said portion, whereby the striking thrust of the said lower end of the said portion against the said roadway will divert much of the impact force into the roadway and continued impact force will tend to raise the adjacent portion of said body away from said roadway surface and thereby divert more of the impact force.

15. A vehicle body as recited in claim 14 together with spring means secured to said body and engageable with said lower end of said bowed portion to permit yieldable lowering movement of said lower end as the result of flattening of said curved portion from impact against an object.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS D. 134,944 Mortimer Feb. 2, 1943 D. 139,936 Walker Dec. 5, 1944 1,313,282 Finnegan Aug. 19, 1919 1,642,879 Icre Sept. 20, 1927 1,814,556 Jewett July 14, 1931 2,035,809 Hingst Mar. 31, 1936 2,068,715 Stevens Jan. 26, 1937 2,120,459 Brown June 14, 1938 2,502,483 Sauer et al. Apr. 4, 1950 2,508,836 Morris May 23, 1950 2,551,054 Sanmori May 1, 1951 2,757,040 McLelland July 3l, 1956 2,770,850 Graham Nov. 20, 1956 2,796,286 Barenyi June 18, 1957 2,826,787 Graham Mar. 18, 1958 2,826,788 Graham Mar. 18, 1958 2,827,305 Graham Mar. 18, 1958

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification296/187.3, 293/127, 52/222, 296/187.4, 49/9, 280/751
International ClassificationB60R19/02, B62D29/00, B62D39/00
Cooperative ClassificationB62D39/00, B60R19/02, B62D29/001
European ClassificationB62D29/00A, B60R19/02, B62D39/00