Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Gregory Odegard

Committee Member 1

Craig Freidrich

Committee Member 2

Kelly Steelman

Committee Member 3

John “Jack” Reed


This research focuses on designing an optimal restraint system for usage in a military vehicle applications. The designed restraint system must accommodate a wide range of DHM’s and ATD’s with and without PPE such as: helmet, boots, and body armor. The evaluation of the restraint systems were conducted in a simulated vehicle environment, which was utilized to downselect the ideal restraint system for this program.

In December of 2011 the OCP TECD program was formulated to increase occupant protection. To do this, 3D computer models were created to accommodate the entire Soldier population in the Army. These models included the entire PPE, which were later utilized for space claim activities and for designing new seats and restraints, which would accommodate them. Additionally, guidelines to increase protection levels while providing optimal comfort to the Soldier were created. The current and emerging threats were evaluated and focused on at the time of the program inception.

Throughout this program various activities were conducted for restraint downselection including Soldier evaluations of various restraint system configurations. The Soldiers were given an opportunity to evaluate each system in a representative seat, which allowed them to position themselves in a manner consistent with the mission requirements. Systems ranged from fully automated to manual adjustment type systems. An evaluation of each particular system was conducted and analyzed against the other systems. It was discovered that the restraint systems, which utilize retractors allowed for automatic webbing stowage and allowed for easier access and repeatability when donning and doffing the restraint. It was also found that when an aid was introduced to help the Soldier don the restraint, it was more likely that such system would be utilized.

Restraints were evaluated in drop tower experiments in addition to actual blast tests. An evaluation with this amount of detail had not been attempted previously.