Talk:Crash test dummy

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Former featured article Crash test dummy is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
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older entries[edit]

Not to be pedantic, but I saw this:

This testing involved the use of 1000km/h (600 mph) rocket sleds, a speed beyond the capability of human volunteers to tolerate.

Human bodies can withstand any speed-- it's acceleration and jerk that are tough on a human body.

Now it may be that the rocket sled ride is so rough at that speed that the jarring effects could be severely damaging to a human body, but that pertains to the particulars of the transportation method and, as well, the "rough ride" aspect is itself acceleration and jerk (in directions usually not parallel to the motion).

Otherwise, good article! Mu Gamma 05:20, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Thanks - you're obviously correct. My (duh!!) oversight. Denni 20:04, 2004 May 21 (UTC)

I think less exuberant headings would help.  ;) Markalexander100 07:34, 3 May 2004 (UTC)

De-exhubericated. Denni

I liked the article and learned quite a bit. This last being the text of an encyclodia article for me. However, I noticed one missing aspect. There was (and remains) a series of television ads in which test dummies undergo various adventures for various reasons. They became quite popular for a while and I seem to remember the rights (held by the US Government?) being given to a company which then made quite a bit of money licensing toys(?) and other stuff(?). Nothing here about that that I could find, not even a link. Would be good to fill in briefly, I think. 163.151.0.253 18:38, 3 May 2004 (UTC)


  • At Markalexander's request, I have rendered the headings more encyclopedic. I have also done some additional internal and external linking, and made some minor copyedit changes for clarification. I would prefer not to add the "crash test dummy" adventures to this article; I recall them as well, but including them would not contribute in any meaningful way to an understanding of the history and contemporary role of dummies in vehicle safety. Denni 21:59, 2004 May 3 (UTC)

This sentance: "King's calculations indicate that since 1987, cadaver research has saved 8500 lives annually" is vague. Does this mean that cadaver research indicated necessary changes that were then incorporated into autos built since 1987, and these changes have saved 8500 lives annually? The sentance as it stands also could be read as saying that cadaver research conducted since 1987 has saved 8500 lives annually in those same years. Are cadaver research and animal testing still used? If not, when were they phased out? The article says that "By the mid-1950s, the bulk of the information cadaver testing could provide had been harvested"; if this is so, where does the 1987 date come from? Did it take the auto industry thirty years to incorporate design changes? JHCC 13:49, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

I second this; this statement was the only weird and confusing point in this great article. Tempshill 17:46, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
Corrected. Thanks for the prompt. Denni 19:25, 2004 May 23 (UTC)
You're welcome. Still would like to know more about current status of cadaver & animal testing. JHCC 16:23, 24 May 2004 (UTC)
I have no idea about the status of cadaver testing, except that, for soft tissue injuries, it remains an important source of data. I'd refer you to Mary Roackh's book for more on that. As far as animal testing goes, GM definitely does not use it, but I ran into an article from PETA or someone similar saying that it is still being used by Ford in New Zealand. I went back through my bookmark history but could not track it down. So with that clue, I leave it to you :)

Since I have this obsessive-compulsive thing about finding what I'm looking for, I can report that animal testing appears to have ended. None of the Big Three manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler) use animal testing any longer. I'm now going to check the article and see if that necessitates changes. Denni 19:33, 2004 May 24 (UTC)


Pounds here are normal pounds as units of mass, just as the kilograms are[edit]

While 'a dummy would mass 50kg' is technically correct, more people will understand 'a dummy would weigh 50kg' so I've changed it back. The distinction between mass and weight is not significant here (unless we are crash testing spacecraft...). DJ Clayworth 20:01, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

If we talk about persons (or in this case dummies) in a general, informative article, then with '50 kg' we mean weight, not mass. Also, using SI units -in this case kg- there must be a space between the number and the unit symbol; '50 kg', not '50kg'. SI uses spaces to separate groups of three digits, no dots or commas. MH, 2004/05/21 22:43 (CET)
Let's be fair about it. People will generally relate to a number in pounds better if they live in the US, Canada, or Britain. (And even in Canada, where meat, dairy, and produce are sold by the kilogram and deli products by the hectogram, change is coming slowly but surely). The French and the Australians (the latter who went about metrication in a quick and civilized fashion) have no trouble with 'mass.' Furthermore, you introduce a fundamental error into the article if you decide arbitrarily to use kg as a measure of weight. It is not. Mass is mass, weight is the product of mass and gravitational aceleration. Mass in SI is expressed in grams or derivations of such. Mass in SB (Systéme Barbarique) is measured in slugs. An appropriate unit, I think, for such a goofy way of measuring things (yes, you may call me a fanatic on the subject. Thank you thank you.) Weight, on the other hand, is expressed in Newtons in the metric system (and one kg mass is roughly 10 N weight) and pounds in the imperial system, where 1 slug mass = 32 pounds.
So you can't have it both ways. Make the intellectual stretch and accept that the metric system is going to visiting even the backwaters of the US within the next few decades. Treat this as an opportunity to learn instead of to status quo. Learn how to give up what the non-metric nations have been doing for years - using weird and bizarre units which are hard to convert one to another, and which often don't make immediate sense internally (why, for heaven's sake, are there four different types of miles used in the US?). Since this is really an amerocentrism issue, I'm converting them back, and I ask that you respect the rationale behind it. Denni 19:25, 2004 May 23 (UTC)
In the interest of peace and solidarity, I have linked both 'mass' and 'weight' to their corresponding articles. Learning is better than arguing.Denni 19:57, 2004 May 23 (UTC)
You don't seem to understand your options here. You can choose not to call this weight, but that's about your only option.
Just keep in mind a few simple points:
  • Your choosing not to use this word does not mean that someone else who doesn't make the same choice is making an error.
  • It is not a valid alternative to continue to call it weight, but to misapply a definition of that ambiguous word which in inappropriate and wrong in the circumstances.
Note specifically that the pounds used for this purpose are the ones which are, by definition, 0.453 592 37 kg. Nobody ever makes two different measurements, of two different quantities, when they express these measurements in both pounds and kilograms. You were being downright silly in the way you had this. Gene Nygaard 04:14, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I have restored my changes in this article. There is no "weight" in any meaning other than the one which is a synonym for "mass" in physics jargon involved in the "Crash test dummy" numbers.

It seems that User:Dwindrim "Denni" has difficulty understanding the concept that this discussion should take place here, not on my talk page.

Note that I did not call this mass by its synonymous name "weight" in my revisions, and I didn't insist that Denni or anyone else call it weight; I merely left the unambiguous-in-the-context term "mass" which had been inserted by either Denni or some other earlier editor. There is no reason to drag a red herring into the mix, by throwing in an extraneous, irrelevant word "weight" into the discussion of the family.

Denni also seems to have difficulty following the link to pound, something which I had included in my previous comments as well as here, to figure out that the pounds used here are units of mass.

So I guess I will include a few references on that point here as well. See more on this at Talk:Pound.

Here is the official, legal definition of a pound--quoting the U.S. definition, but it is the worldwide definition, since the 1959 agreement mentioned within here, from the Federal Register Notice of July 1, 1959, F.R. Doc. 59-5442: [1]

Announcement. Effective July 1, 1959, all calibrations in the U.S. customary system of weights and measures carried out by the National Bureau of Standards will continue to be based upon metric measurement standards and, except those for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey as noted below, will be made in terms of the following exact equivalents and appropriate multiples and submultiples:

1 yard= 0.914 4 meter
1 pound (avoirdupois)= 0.453 592 37 kilogram

Currently, the units defined by these same equivalents, which have been designated as the International Yard and the International Pound, respectively, will be used by the National Standards Laboratories of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and United Kingdom; thus there will be brought about international accord on the yard and pound by the English-speaking nations of the world, in precise measurements involving these basic units.

See the link to the full text of the document above for more on the U.S. definition for the 66 years before this common definition was agreed upon, defining the pound as a slightly different, exact fraction of a kilogram. Of course, neither of these redefinitions changed the fact that the pounds were units of mass; they only changed the precise standards for these units of mass.

One of Denni's major problems is an inability to understand the simple fact that "weight" is an ambiguous word, one with several different meanings. He thinks that the fact that some people call the avoirdupis pound a "unit of weight" identifies it as something different from a "unit of mass"—but it does not. Something that is called a "unit of weight" might be a unit of force—something which is different from a unit of mass—but that is not an inevitability. Consider a couple of facts:

  • Kilograms are "units of weight," and they are so identified with great frequency. Furthermore, when kilograms are used as units of weight, they are almost always the proper SI units for the purpose. Note, in that regard, that the once-acceptable kilograms force are not a part of the SI, and they can therefore never be the proper SI units for anything.
  • Troy ounces and troy pounds are "units of weight." However, there is one significant way in which the troy units of weight differ not only from their avoirdupois cousins, but from grams and kilograms as well. The troy units of weight have never spawned units of force of the same name, as avoirdupois pounds have, and as kilograms have. There is no troy ounce force, and there never has been a troy ounce force.

Gene Nygaard 09:54, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

In the American Engineering System of units, a pound is both a unit of mass, and the unit of force corresponding to the weight of one pound-mass under standard gravity. Where this would be ambiguous, the terms pound-mass and pound-force are used.

While in the specific context of physics, weight is the force exerted by gravity, in common usage, weight can be synonymous with mass. Weight is a very old word, older in fact than instruments that measure force (such as a spring scale). The word weight was in use when the instrument used to "weigh" was a pan balance, which measures mass, and continues in this function. Shimmin 19:04, Jan 12, 2005 (UTC)


Engineering literature and textbooks will somtimes use lbm and lbf to differentiate between mass and force. However, the subscripts are usually left off because they really are not needed in a context where everyone is aware of the difference. Also, if you really want to get picky about Imperial units units of mass, then use Slug (mass).
Metric is no better than imperial units on this front; the Kilogram-force abomination is sometimes used and i recently saw a pressure guage with units Kg/m2.
I would suggest using subscripts (lbm and lbf) when more clarity is desired. Duk 05:42, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Caption problems[edit]

Many of the captions seem too close to the normal text, deosn't Wikipedia have a better way of doing this? Also, when describing THOR, the text "dummies. THOR's range of sensors is also greater in quantity and sensitivity than those of Hybrid III." spills over into another row making it really ugly. Unfortunately, I do not know how to fix this. --Exigentsky 04:21, Jun 2, 2004 (UTC)

Request for references[edit]

Hi, I am working to encourage implementation of the goals of the Wikipedia:Verifiability policy. Part of that is to make sure articles cite their sources. This is particularly important for featured articles, since they are a prominent part of Wikipedia. Further reading is not the same thing as proper references. Further reading could list works about the topic that were not ever consulted by the page authors. If some of the works listed in the further reading section were used to add or check material in the article, please list them in a references section instead. The Fact and Reference Check Project has more information. Thank you, and please leave me a message when a few references have been added to the article. - Taxman 19:12, Apr 22, 2005 (UTC)


Hybrid III is used for some rear impact tests. The text stated it had "no ability" to assess different types of accidents from frontal impact.

some Notes concerning the content[edit]

Hello. I'm working on the german article and wondered reading the following:

  • Colonel John Paul Stapp USAF propelled himself over 630 mph (1010 km/h) on a rocket sled and stopped in less than a second (in volounteer testing)
    • This testing involved the use of high acceleration to 1000 km/h (600 mph) rocket sleds, beyond the capability of human volunteers to tolerate (in dummy evolution).

One of both should be false, unless the colonel did not survive his testing - but i suppose he did. And in addition to that, the velocity calculations between km/h and mph seem strange. --Nerdi (de:wp) 22.March\06


In the reference to acceleration in the third line of "Dummy Evolution", it is incorrectly measured in km/h. Acceleration, by definition is a change in speed and must be measured in km/h^2. I tried to change it before but couldn't work the superscript, and also I don't know if the numbers in the article are a correct measurement of acceleration. Could someone fix this please. -- Thomas

Dummy Evolution quirks & clarifications[edit]

There are two parts in the Dummy Evolution section that look particularly strange to me. First is the mention of the development of the "5th percentile female dummy." This seems likely to have been a typo for "50th percentile female dummy," as it follows closely behind the section on the 50th percentile male dummy above.

Following this, there is a segment discussing the development of the Hybrid II series which, it currently says, came out in 1972. Apparently following this in 1973 was a 50th percentile male dummy. So what was it that came out in 1972? This needs clarification. -Jarsyl 09:18, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

5th %ile female is correct (see Denton 5th F) ; the 5th female and 95th male are made to represent the extremes of adult size. There's no 50th female. Jablomih (talk) 16:30, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

So what kind of and measurements do Dummies Make?[edit]

I think this article fails to address exactly how people use dummies to improve car safety. What kind of measurements do they make off of them? What kind of instruments do they put in dummies? Unfortunately I don't know the answer to these questions yet...

Update: Here's a great article that talks about the accelerometers and potentiometers they put in dummies. http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/oct07/5557/4

Subheight640 (talk) 07:56, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Actually you wouldn't measure the velocity of the ATD, but the acceleration/deceleration, and the velocity would be calculated. The other measurements usually include lumbar forces for vertical impacts. There are others as well. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 03:20, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Merge with popular culture article[edit]

I think a merge would be good.--gordonrox24 (talk) 04:03, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I disagree (presuming you're talking about the IPC article). The IPC stuff (with the possible exception of the US Department of Transportation material, which still needs to be sourced) is irrelevant to understanding the subject of this article, and serves no useful encyclopedic purpose. Mintrick (talk) 04:18, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes I am talking about the Crash test dummies in popular culture article. I didn't suggest the merge but I did write a litte note here. The IPC article was a WP:FA for five years, so I am unclear as to how it could serve no encyclopedic purpose. I think a merge would be good because this article and the IPC page are really all about dummies. If you look at the way most WP pages are set up, there is not a different page for different articles related to the one subject. It would just make sense to me to have everything about the dummies in one article.--gordonrox24 (talk) 10:52, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
No, the IPC article was never featured, the main article was (and it was rightfully removed). And no, these articles are not the same. This article is all about the engineering and practical aspects of using crash test dummies. The other article is entirely indistinguishable from a hundred and a half others in category: in popular culture, where the subject makes some brief appearance in a random piece of media, with no evidence of significance to the subject at hand. Mintrick (talk) 15:18, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Oh crap you are right. I am looking at this article thinking it is IPC. In that case then I think a delete of the IPC article is almost necessary. It has no references so... I am not an expert on this topic. I just saw another editor proposing a merge.--gordonrox24 (talk) 22:17, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Merge complete. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 18:20, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Why the **** is MythBusters there?173.49.239.254 (talk) 14:48, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

I removed it, just to be safe. If someone wants it in the article, it should not be in the resources section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.25.188.78 (talk) 19:50, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Human cadavers are still being used in tests[edit]

I found this link: http://www.thelocal.se/11604/20080507/ Someone could perhaps put it into the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.150.18.209 (talk) 12:38, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

What's the point here? --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE GOOD WORKS 17:36, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Testing section[edit]

Most of the unsourced content in this section is irrelevant to the subject of testing. It should all be deleted and replaced with related content. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE GOOD WORKS 17:38, 16 August 2010 (UTC)