How to Create a Vehicle Crash Test Project

By Paul Vaughn

This project will allow students of any age, to construct a vehicle for crash testing. Vehicles will contain a raw egg that will survive the crash test or will crack and splatter. Crash test is conducted from a pre-made track and solid brick.

How to build a crash test vehicle

The vehicle body design should be constructed so that the front end of the vehicle has a crumble zone to reduce impact force.

A suggested list of building materials is included. For a viable test, these materials should be used as instructed.

Design a crash test vehicle body that will protect one raw egg in shell restrained on vehicle seat attached to pre-made vehicle platform with attached axles and wheels. Then test the body design by running crash test vehicle down a predesigned test track, a successful design will be able to withstand the impact and prevent the egg from cracking.

The vehicle must not exceed length and width of the pre-made vehicle platform. Plastic wheels and axles can be bought at your local hobby shop. The finished vehicle body design should be glued to the vehicle platform and axles should be secured to the vehicle platform one inch from each end. Model glue works the best at holding axles in place.

Once the vehicle is assembled and the axles secured to the bottom of the vehicle platform, push the plastic wheels onto the axles. The vehicle body can then be glued to the vehicle platform using wood glue. Secure the raw egg in the cab of your vehicle and use test track to test your design. If the egg survives uncracked, your design is successful. If the egg cracks, determine what part of the vehicle needs re-enforcing and modify your design. Test your vehicle design on the track until the egg survives testing.

Building the test track: Use a 3x8 sheet of plywood to form the track. Cut an 8' x 6" using a table saw. Use 4, 2"x2" boards to use a struts to hold up the track. Use an additional piece of plywood cut to the same size as the track, to use as a platform for struts. Use a protractor to locate a 40 degree angle for the track and cut struts to support the 40 degree angle.

About the Author

Paul Vaughn has worked in the auto and diesel mechanics field for 10 years and as public school automotive vocational teacher for five years. He currently teaches high school auto tech, covering year model vehicles as old as 1980 to as new as 2007.