Numerical Investigations of Interactions between the Knee-Thigh-Hip Complex with Vehicle Interior Structures 2005-22-0005
Although biomechanical studies on the knee-thigh-hip (KTH) complex have been extensive, interactions between the KTH and various vehicular interior design parameters in frontal automotive crashes for newer models have not been reported in the open literature to the best of our knowledge. A 3D finite element (FE) model of a 50th percentile male KTH complex, which includes explicit representations of the iliac wing, acetabulum, pubic rami, sacrum, articular cartilage, femoral head, femoral neck, femoral condyles, patella, and patella tendon, has been developed to simulate injuries such as fracture of the patella, femoral neck, acetabulum, and pubic rami of the KTH complex. Model results compared favorably against regional component test data including a three-point bending test of the femur, axial loading of the isolated knee-patella, axial loading of the KTH complex, axial loading of the femoral head, and lateral loading of the isolated pelvis. The model was further integrated into a Wayne State University upper torso model and validated against data obtained from whole body sled tests. The model was validated against these experimental data over a range of impact speeds, impactor masses and boundary conditions. Using Design Of Experiment (DOE) methods based on Taguchi’s approach and the developed FE model of the whole body, including the KTH complex, eight vehicular interior design parameters, namely the load limiter force, seat belt elongation, pretensioner inlet amount, knee-knee bolster distance, knee bolster angle, knee bolster stiffness, toe board angle and impact speed, each with either two or three design levels, were simulated to predict their respective effects on the potential of KTH injury in frontal impacts. Simulation results proposed best design levels for vehicular interior design parameters to reduce the injury potential of the KTH complex due to frontal automotive crashes. This study is limited by the fact that prediction of bony fracture was based on an element elimination method available in the LS-DYNA code. No validation study was conducted to determine if this method is suitable when simulating fractures of biological tissues. More work is still needed to further validate the FE model of the KTH complex to increase its reliability in the assessment of various impact loading conditions associated with vehicular crash scenarios.