High Bay Laboratory

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This laboratory is a specially constructed facility with elevated (37 feet) ceilings and an overhead catwalk, and which is dedicated to research efforts in reducing fall-related injuries, as well as in improving the safety of large equipment used in industrial, construction, and agricultural applications. Overall dimensions of the laboratory are 30 by 36 by 37 feet, which are necessary for accommodating such research efforts as studies of scaffolding systems, ladder stability, tension/compression testing of fabricated protective structures using hydraulic ram pressure, and access/egress safety for construction equipment. Test equipment in the High Bay Laboratory includes a 5- ton bridge crane, a test bed, hydraulic power supply and actuator system, and a research manikin. The test bed, which is used for securing equipment in place for testing, measures 10 by 15 feet and is 7 inches thick, and is composed of four sections that can be positioned by the overhead crane. T-slots in the bed surface provide anchors for the equipment under test. The hydraulic power system features a 10 g.p.m. pump and two 22,000 lb. actuators. The actuators can be fully controlled through a personal computer to produce loadings, deflections, or vibrations of desired amplitude and frequency. This lab is also equipped with an advanced research manikin. The manikin was developed in response to the knowledge gained from the U.S. Air Force's tests of biomechanical effects of acceleration forces on aircrews under high-stress conditions such as aircraft ejection. This manikin is known as ADAM, for advanced dynamic anthropomorphic manikin, and is representative of a 95th percentile Air Force male. This research manikin was designed with a high degree of biodynamic fidelity to the human body under conditions of rapid acceleration and deceleration, such as would be experienced in an aircraft crash or fall incident. The manikin has body segments which approximate that of the human body, articulated limbs with a range of motion that also approximates that of the body, and a spinal system that was designed to replicate the human spine's elasticity along the z axis. The manikin contains a sophisticated and ruggedized onboard data acquisition system and all joints contain sensors. Internal instrumentation includes three triaxial accelerometers, located in the head, the neck, and the chest, and two internal load cells located in the spine. Finally, there are position sensors mounted in the knees, elbows, and shoulders. This equipment has been used in a series of tests on the biodynamic forces that protective equipment and the human body would experience during free-fall and rapid deceleration while wearing fall-restraint equipment.

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