M.S.  Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah (2019)
B.S. Human Physiology, University of Iowa (2014)

Email: r.dinapoli@utah.edu
Lab: MEB 2210


Current Research:  Mechanical Testing of Automotive Seat Backs for Low Speed Rear-End Collisions

The potential for injury to an occupant of an automobile during impact is directly related to the transfer of energy to the individual.  During impact, the automobile accelerates independent of the occupant, thus leaving the occupant static until acted upon by the structures of the vehicle.  During rear-end collisions, the structures of the vehicle that initially impact the occupant include the seat back and the head restraint.

The purpose of this project is to construct a testing rig to characterize the mechanical properties of a seat in a low speed rear-end collision.  By accelerating an anthromorphic testing device (ATD) into a vehicle seat under IIHS testing conditions; stiffness, dampening, and energy absorption properties will be derived.

Much of the current research has been centered around general characteristics of seats, where individual properties of specific seats are largely unpublished.  Through designing a validated rig that measures the materialistic properties of specific vehicle seats, data can be input into crash simulating software like MADYMO to determine what effects, if any, seat properties will have on the kinematics of rear-end impact.


Research Interests: Biomechanics of brain and spinal cord injury
Personal Interests: He enjoys playing golf, watching sports, and playing music.