Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Gabler, Hampton C.


Aeronautics--Safety measures; Airplanes--Seats


Mechanical Engineering


This thesis describes the development and validation of a finite element model of a commuter aircraft seat under crash loading. In particular, this effort has developed an LS-DYNA model of a Beechcraft 1900C low back passenger seat.

Although air travel is one of the safest forms of transportation, crash-related fatalities do occur even in relatively low severity crashes. Many of these fatalities can be traced to the inability of production seats to absorb crash energy. The goal of this research effort is to develop a computational model of a production aircraft seat as a first step towards the development of more crash-survivable aircraft seats.

The processes by which a finite element model of a low seat-back version of a Beechcraft 1900C passenger seat was created and tested are described in detail. The Beechcraft seat was thoroughly analyzed, a solid model was constructed using the SolidWorks modeling tool, and a mesh model was built from the solid model using the HyperMesh code.

The model was first validated against the results of three drop tests conducted in the Rowan drop tower. The model was then validated against a full fuselage drop test of a Beechcraft 1900C, conducted by the FAA. The model was shown to be an excellent predictor of pelvic acceleration. Reasonable agreement was observed between numerical simulation and experiment for all tested body regions; pelvic, chest, and head body regions. With further refinement, the model will serve as a promising computational tool for the future development of energy absorbing aircraft seats.