Protecting Pilots: Designing a Variable Cervical Neck Brace to Mitigate Ejection Injuries; How Framing Engineering Ethics Changes our Conception of the Engineer

Berry, Seth, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Neeley, Kathryn, EN-Engineering and Society PV-Summer & Spec Acad Progs, University of Virginia

Females are 17.0% more likely to perish when sitting in the passenger seat than males, according to an engineer working for the NHTSA. The technical project included in this thesis is about developing a cervical neck brace to decrease the incidence of injury in pilots who have to eject from their aircraft, but this project introduced an even greater problem. The models used to produce injury criteria for aircraft ejection are developed using a 50th percentile male under the assumption that this model can simply be scaled up or down to represent any member of the population. Dr. Salzar previously performed research for the Navy that tested this long held assumption, that assumption being that all people can be modelled as a 50th percentile male that is simply scaled up or down for size. Despite Dr. Salzarā€™s work this flawed model continues to prevail not only among the very niche aviation community, but also in the automotive industry, an industry which affects the vast majority of Americans since we are so heavily reliant on cars for daily transportation. The prospectus seeks to answer the question of why such an obviously flawed model is still in use today, while the research paper is an attempt at framing the problem in a novel way such that proposed solutions will actually address the root issues.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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