Assembling induced pre-stress state commonly exists in the ribcage structure of Hybrid III dummy hardware. In the practice of dummy modeling, however, the pre-stress issue is often neglected. This study is intended to assess the pre-stress effect on chest response of the Hybrid III 50th percentile male dummy model. In this paper, how the pre-stress state is generated in the dummy ribcage assembling process is first elaborated by disassembling and reverse engineering a physical dummy chest structure. A thorax FE model is then built and validated against test results. Using finite element modeling approach, the structural responses with and without the pre-stress state are compared and analyzed at single rib, ribcage and full dummy levels and under a number of loading conditions. The study has found out that, there are two common pre-stress states existing in the rib components of the dummy ribcage, pre-compressive stress and pre-tensile stress. Compared with no pre-stress model, the pre-compressive stress makes a rib stiffer and the pre-tensile stress makes a rib less stiff. It is further concluded that, the pre-stress effect is significant at the single rib level and insignificant at the ribcage level and the full dummy level. This is mainly because the effects of the pre-compressive stress and the pre-tensile stress existing in the six ribs are compensated each other in the assembled ribcage. Therefore, neglecting the pre-stress effect of the ribcage structure in the dummy models is reasonable.

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