Compressive Neck Preloading During the Airborne Phase of Vehicle Rollover 2007-01-0377
Vehicle occupants undergo upward and outward excursion during the airborne phase of vehicle rollover due to the inertial effects coming from the vehicle's rotation. When this excursion is sufficient to permit contact between the occupant's head and the vehicle's interior roof panel, the neck may experience compressive loading. This compressive loading, generated during the airborne phase and prior to vehicle-to-ground impact, could render the occupant more susceptible to compressive neck injury during subsequent vehicle-to-ground impacts. In the present study, computational simulations were used to evaluate the effect of steady-state roll rate on compressive preloading in the cervical spine. The results show an increasing relationship between roll rate and compressive preloading when the head contacts the roof panel and becomes constrained. At high roll rates, this compressive preloading can approach a significant percentage of neck compressive injury tolerance, potentially increasing the likelihood of injury during subsequent vehicle-to-ground impact.