UDU Technology

The National Safety Council estimates 40,000 people were killed and 4.5 million The patented lightweight Uniform Deceleration Unit (UDU) is a highly tunable modular design. We discovered that when the structural skin and aluminum foam are “tuned” to take advantage of the inherent constant-force crush regime of the aluminum foam, a near ideal energy absorber can be constructed. This means that for a given design space, the UDU can absorb as much energy as is physically possible without injuring vehicle occupants or collapsing vehicle structural members, such as the A-pillar or the side sill. This allows forces passing through the structure to reach a designed limit. Above that force limit, it crushes at almost a constant force, with the kinetic energy being converted into strain energy inside the structure.

Results of a small overlap crash test on a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado

The patented UDU technology is a composite structure comprised of a structural skin or “scaffold” integrated with a metallic foam or similar material. This modular composite configuration creates enormous design flexibility for applying the technology to automotive applications. The structural portion is generally made from high strength aluminum alloy materials, such as extrusions, impact extrusions, or castings. However, other materials, such as advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) and carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), can also be used for the skin material.

A key component of the technology is stabilized aluminum foam from Cymat Technologies, an innovative materials technology company located in Mississauga, Canada. The company employs a proprietary process to manufacture their unique Stabilized Aluminum Foam (SAF), an advanced lightweight recyclable material that provides a wide array of features, including customizable density and dimensions, energy absorption, and thermal and acoustic insulation. Cymat produces SAF for automotive, transportation, architecture, blast mitigation, and industrial markets. The company’s SmartMetal division assists in the integration of this technology into kinetic energy management systems, such as the UDU.

For more information on our simulated and physical crush testing go to our UDU Crush Testing information page.