Lower Cervical Spine Loading in Frontal Sled Tests Using Inverse Dynamics: Potential Applications for Lower Neck Injury Criteria 2010-22-0008
Lower cervical spine injuries are more common in survivors of motor vehicle crashes sustaining neck trauma. Injury criteria are determined using upper neck loads in dummies although a lower neck load cell exists. Due to a paucity of lower neck data from post mortem human subject (PMHS) studies, this research was designed to determine the head-neck biomechanics with a focus on lower neck metrics and injuries. Sixteen frontal impact tests were conducted using five belted PMHS. Instrumentation consisted of a pyramid-shaped nine accelerometer package on the head, tri-axial accelerometer on T1, and uniaxial accelerometer on the sled. Three-dimensional kinematics of the head-neck complex were obtained using a 20-camera high-speed motion analysis system. Testing sequence was: low (3.6 m/s), medium (6.9 m/s), repeat low, and high (15.8 m/s) velocities. Trauma evaluations were made between tests. Testing was terminated upon confirmation of injuries. Autopsy was conducted, and geometric and inertial properties of the head were determined. Using inverse dynamics, upper and lower neck loads were determined, along with head and T1 kinematics. Lower cervical injuries occurred in four specimens during the loading phase and were attributed to the flexion mechanism. Peak upper and lower neck loading magnitudes and head-neck and T1 kinematics are given for each test. Sagittal plane head center of gravity and T1 kinematic data along with upper and lower neck forces and moments, hitherto not reported in literature, may be used to determine the biofidelity responses of frontal impact dummies and establish lower neck injury criteria.