Test Machine for Automotive Crashworthiness

National Laboratory: 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Processing/Manufacturing Class: 
Thermo-mechanical processing

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Composites Laboratory operates a unique servo-hydraulic Test Machine for Automotive Crashworthiness, or TMAC, to conduct progressive crushing tests on composite automotive components at velocities ranging from 0–29 km/hr and energy levels up to 50 kJ. TMAC, a closed-loop servo-hydraulic machine designed, engineered, and manufactured by MTS, permits controlled, progressive crush experiments at programmable velocity profiles and high force levels. The capability to maintain constant speed is important to keep the crush rate constant and to rate effects.

Capability Bounds: 

Physical Specifications

  • 490 KN actuator capacity (static conditions)
  • 250-mm stroke
  • Greater than 490 KN side-load capacity
  • Attachable 450 kg mass to smooth impact oscillations

Example Operating Conditions

  • No Load: 115 mm travel at 8 m/s
  • Sustained Force of 133 KN: 115 mm travel at 6 m/s
  • Sustained Force of 267 KN: 115 mm travel at 4 m/s
Unique Aspects: 

The TMAC affords studies involving the deformation and failure response of composite components relative to impact velocity in a controlled and programmable manner, which is made possible by the software’s unique adaptive control feature. The TMAC principally is used to test composite structures, but it also is superb for conducting progressive crush tests on other structural materials. The capability to test across this range of velocities and energy levels is providing critical data needed for crash simulations that assess the safety of vehicles body structures manufactured from composites and other lightweight materials.


Results are widely published in the literature, while computer codes and domain expertise are readily available for industry participants.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: S. Simunovic
Email: simunovics@ornl.gov
Phone: 865-771-9919

  1. R.G. Boeman, A.G. Caliskan; SAE paper 2002-01-1954;
Supporting Document(s):