What Happens when you Slam a Door?

Picture this: You’re driving and running late for an appointment. Once you arrive to your parking spot, you quickly put the vehicle in park, grab your things, swing open the door, and hurry your way out. More than likely, the last thing on your mind is whether you shut the car door behind you excessively hard, and whether that could have done any damage to your car door seal.

However, that is something at the top of mind for an automobile manufacturer. The act of opening and closing a vehicle door can take its toll over time – especially if the user routinely applies excessive force.

Automobile designers go to great lengths to make sure their designs will withstand the rigors of everyday use. Vehicle doors, in particular, is one area of the design that undergoes vigorous testing. Not only are vehicle doors important for keeping people safe, but any weak spot in the door seal can lead to excess wind noise while driving, or water leaks from weather.

How can you Measure Door Slam Impacts?

Because this impact is occurring in a paper-thin space, there are truly only two tools to help quantify and analyze this activity.

1) Pressure indicating film, including Prescale

While this is a low-cost tool, pressure indicating film can only show evidence of peak pressure, and not pressure occurring over a period time. Also, this film must be replaced after each door slam, which can become time consuming.

2) Pressure mapping technology, such as the I-Scan™ system

If you want to be able to analyze an entire recording of a door slam event, frame-by-frame, then pressure mapping technology is your best option. The sensor can stay in place for the entire testing duration – no need to replace, or reconfigure your test once the sensor is secured. You can also export data reports into user-friendly file formats (.doc, .csv., ASCII).

This article shares more information on the differences between pressure indicating film and pressure mapping technology.

When it Comes to Door Slam Analysis, Every Moment Counts

With pressure mapping technology, automobile designers can see what happens when a user slams a vehicle door, and analyze how those impacts can produce regions of excessive pressure that can cause damage.

As this short video demonstrates, an ultra-thin I-Scan™ pressure-mapping sensor (a thickness of 0.01mm) is adhered to the contact area of the door and vehicle body. The user then clicks “record” in the I-Scan software, and slams the door onto the sensor. This sensor captures and relays pressure feedback to the I-Scan software in both a visual representation of the pressure impact, as well as a “Force vs Time” graph.

See this Door Slam Experiment in Action

With this information, automobile designers can take measures to including additional supports in the vehicle door design that will ensure its time.

Additional Ways to Use Pressure Mapping

Measuring the effects of high-speed impacts is just one application for pressure mapping technology. This eBook shares several other broad-use methods that may apply to your field of research or design.

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