Browse Publications Technical Papers 2008-22-0019

Impact Response and Biomechanical Analysis of the Knee-Thigh-Hip Complex in Frontal Impacts with a Full Human Body Finite Element Model 2008-22-0019

Changes in vehicle safety design technology and the increasing use of seat-belts and airbag restraint systems have gradually changed the relative proportion of lower extremity injuries. These changes in real world injuries have renewed interest and the need of further investigation into occupant injury mechanisms and biomechanical impact responses of the knee-thigh-hip complex during frontal impacts.
This study uses a detailed finite element model of the human body to simulate occupant knee impacts experienced in frontal crashes. The human body model includes detailed anatomical features of the head, neck, shoulder, chest, thoracic and lumbar spine, abdomen, pelvis, and lower and upper extremities. The material properties used in the model for each anatomic part of the human body were obtained from test data reported in the literature. The human body model used in the current study has been previously validated in frontal and side impacts. It was further validated with cadaver knee-thigh-hip impact tests in the current study.
The effects of impactor configuration and flexion angle of the knee on biomechanical impact responses of the knee-thigh-hip complex were studied using the validated human body finite element model. This study showed that the knee flexion angle and the impact direction and shape of the impactors affected the injury outcomes of the knee-thigh-hip complex significantly. The 60° flexed knee impact showed the least impact force, knee pressure, femoral von Mises stress, and pelvic von Mises stress but largest relative displacements of the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). The 90° flexed knee impact resulted in a higher impact force, knee pressure, femoral von Mises stress, and pelvic von Mises stress; but smaller PCL and ACL displacements. Stress distributions of the patella, femur, and pelvis were also given for all the simulated conditions.


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