Category: Research

GBB is now working alongside the Nuffield Placement Scheme in helping young students to experience a professional research environment.

Using work placements, students will be invited to GBB to undertake research projects in Physics and/or Engineering. Whilst here, they will shadow experts at inspections, assist in current research ventures and carry out their own project.

The Nuffield Placement Scheme is a charitable trust established in 1943 by William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris motors. The scheme helps over 1000 students each year with the opportunity to work alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians (STEM).

Work placements are being given the go-ahead after Dr David Ward, manager of the scheme, visited GBB and thought it was a “fantastic company” and was eager for us to get involved.

With our commitment to STEM education, our involvement with the scheme is a great way for GBB to impart knowledge, lend support, and enhance students’ Personal Development Plans.

GBB currently has a student on work placement who is undertaking a mathematical project in vehicle collisions, which will be presented at a national Nuffield event later in the year. It is hoped that the student’s work at GBB will lead to a CREST award. Run by The British Association for the Advancement of Science, ‘CREST’ is a well-known and nationally recognised reward which helps bridge the gap between science in the classroom and the ‘real’ world.

Research at GBB finished 2012 in full force with a range of exciting new projects geared towards increased understanding of vehicle collisions and their effects.

Published Work

The year 2012 was culminated by the publication of the GBB peer reviewed research “A study and comparison of the effects of low speed change vehicle collisions on the human body”.

Co-authored by Philip Hoyes and Brian Henderson the paper compares the accelerations produced by low speed collisions with those produced in everyday activity, such as sitting into a chair.

The research is available in the March 2013 edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention published by Elsevier and available through SciVerse Science Direct.

Bumper Cars

GBB carried out collision testing using bumper cars in Spring 2012.  Philip Hoyes, project organiser, explains:  [blockquote align=”center” cite=”Phil Hoyes”]Occupant kinematics research using bumper cars isn’t new; published research already exists through the Society of Automotive Engineers. However, no such study appears to have been done in the UK. Using bumper cars allows us to expand our collision test dataset but it also provides a comparison with something that is more familiar or comprehendible for people when discussing the effects of low speed car collisions[/blockquote]

Mike Hall, previous university lecturer in vehicle dynamics and recent prodigal son of the research department, is closely involved with the bumper car research. [blockquote align=”center” cite=”Mike Hall”]Though bumper cars do not behave exactly the same as normal cars, the effects remain similar – and the unrestricted view allows an unimpeded assessment of occupant movement. Using accelerometers we can measure, record, analyse and compare the relative motions of the head/neck/chest system[/blockquote]

Vehicle Pitching Under Braking

Mike is also involved with a separate project which explores the effects of changing ride heights of vehicles due to braking.

[blockquote align=”center”]When a vehicle brakes the front profile lowers and the rear profile rises. By quantifying the change of heights for a range of vehicles, we can look at how much we might expect a car’s height at to change under certain conditions,” says Mike. “We can then use this information to comment with improved confidence on the mechanism of any collision. This is particularly pertinent where a ‘slam-on’ or induced collision has been reported[/blockquote]

The GBB research on bumper car testing and vehicle dive prediction will be published later in 2013.


GBB are delighted to announce that director, Philip Hoyes, was registered as a Chartered Engineer (CEng) with the Engineering Council on the 5th October 2012 reflecting his standing as a professionally qualified engineer.

In the United Kingdom, a Chartered Engineer is an engineer registered with Engineering Council (the British regulatory body for engineers). Contemporary Chartered Engineers are master’s degree-qualified and have gained professional competencies through training and experience. The formation process of a Chartered Engineer is generally a minimum of 8 years.

The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession and professional registration is the mechanical engineering industry’s gold standard.

Chartered Engineers develop appropriate solutions to engineering problems. They may develop and apply new technologies, promote advanced designs and design methods and introduce new and more efficient production techniques, or pioneer new engineering services and management methods. The title CEng is protected by civil law and is one of the most recognisable international engineering qualifications.

Chartered Engineers are variously engaged in technical and commercial leadership and possess effective interpersonal skills.

Together with his acceptance as full member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Philip plans to utilise this credential to underpin a framework  at GBB that encourages IMechE membership, provides mentorship and support for undergraduates and a structured  training scheme for the next generation of Forensic Engineers.


GBB Managing Director Brian Henderson has been awarded a Master of Science Degree (MSc) in the field of forensic science.

Brian’s thesis, entitled A Retrospective Study in understanding ‘Low Speed Change’ Vehicle Collisions, Occupant Movement and Likelihood of Injury is a synthesis of many years of investigation and original research all of which has been self-funded. The award of an MSc to Brian from a University that has a world-wide reputation in the field of Forensic Science asserts GBB’s credibility as a company that is at the forefront of collision investigation and research.

Low speed collisions and in particular whiplash associated disorder continue to be a major talking point in the UK with the Government and the insurance industry actively looking to tackle the issue. 

The most recent ABI statistics in relation to whiplash claims (published in 2008) state:-

  • 430,000+ people claimed for whiplash in 2007, up by 1/4 in the last five years. Cost nearly £2 billion a year in compensation.
  • Whiplash injuries now cost the NHS approximately £8 million a year in consultation fees.
  • UK is the whiplash capital of Europe: 75% of motor personal injury claims for whiplash, compared to an average of 40% throughout the rest of Europe.
  • Many drivers and passengers are at risk: 75% of drivers are unaware how head restraints should be correctly positioned.

At GBB, we believe that first-hand research is essential for knowledge and understanding of all aspects of road traffic accident investigation and further investment in research and joint projects with academic institutions are planned in the near future.


GBB are delighted to welcome Mike Hall back to our research team.

Mike previously worked for GBB between 2006 and 2007 and played a major role in the early stages of our vehicle collision  research and crash testing programmes.

Mike who is a member of the Institute of Physics has a BSc (Hons) in Aeronautical Engineering and MSc in Computational Methods and Fluid Mechanics.

Mike has returned to GBB to spacilise in Research and Training. He will support the investigators in their application of science to vehicle collisions; provide a training program for new starters and analyse data originating from GBB’s ongoing crash testing program.


Managing Director Brian Henderson presented this paper at The Forensic Science Society Spring Conference entitled “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” which was held at The National Railway Museum in York on 22nd April 2010.

The technical paper follows on from the previously published paper looking at the 5mph injury threshold in low speed collisions. This paper is also available to download in this section of the site.


The Technical paper “A Study of Extreme Partial Collisions” is now available to view on-line.

This Technical paper written by Brian Henderson and Phil Hoyes, appeared in the Winter 2009 edition of Impact, the journal of the Institute Of Traffic Accident Investigators.

The crash testing video footage for this paper can be viewed in the video centre section of our site.


The technical paper “A Study Of Human Kinematic Response To Low Speed ‘Rear End’ Impacts Involving Vehicles Of Largely Differing Masses” is available for download.

Brian Henderson presented this paper at the International Congress of Traffic Accident Investigation in Shanghai in November 2009.

The event was organised by the Institute Of Forensic Science, Ministry Of Justice, Peoples Republic Of China.


A joint paper between I. Starks, B. Henderson, M. Hill and R. Wade that also appeared in Injury Extra Volume 5 published in May 2008. The research detailed within this paper was presented by Ian Starks at the British Trauma Society Annual Conference 2007.

This paper was also presented as “Does whiplash occur in low velocity rear impact shunt” at the 10th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in Vienna on 4th June 2009.