Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-1293
2005-04-11

Analysis of a Real-World Crash Using Finite Element Modeling to Examine Traumatic Rupture of the Aorta 2005-01-1293

One of the leading causes of death in automotive crashes is traumatic rupture of the aorta (TRA) or blunt aortic injury (BAI). The risk of fatality is high if an aortic injury is not detected and treated promptly. The objective of this study is to investigate TRA mechanisms using finite element (FE) simulations of reconstructed real-world accidents involving aortic injury. For this application, a case was obtained from the William Lehman Injury Research Center (WLIRC), which is a Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) center. In this selected crash, the case vehicle was struck on the left side with a Principal Direction of Force (PDoF) of 290 degrees. The side structure of the case vehicle crushed a maximum of 0.33 m. The total delta-V was estimated to be 6.2 m/s. The occupant, a 62-year old mid-sized male, was fatally injured. The occupant sustained multiple rib fractures, laceration of the right ventricle, and TRA, among other injuries.
The method proposed in this study allowed simulation of a real-world accident. The method involved two phases. First, the car-to-car interaction was simulated using car FE models. The FE car models were obtained from the National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) public model archives, and were modified to represent the actual crash vehicles. The simulation was validated against intrusion and crush data.
Second, the interaction between the occupant and the interior of the automobile was simulated using input as the results of the first simulation. The occupant was modeled using a whole-body human FE model developed at Wayne State University. The model was developed to simulate the human body response to impact and includes descriptions of all major thoracic and abdominal organs, major blood vessels including the aorta, and all major bony structures. The model represents a mid-sized male. The aortic stress patterns observed in the FE simulation were compared to the autopsy findings.
It is hoped that the predicted internal kinematics of the thorax can help to better understand the injury mechanism of TRA. Results can also be used to design future experimental studies aiming at producing TRA in cadavers.

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