Analysis of Force Mitigation by Boots in Axial Impacts using a Lower Leg Finite Element Model 2019-22-0011
Lower extremity injuries caused by floor plate impacts through the axis of the lower leg are a major source of injury and disability for civilian and military vehicle occupants. A collection of PMHS pendulum impacts was revisited to obtain data for paired booted/unbooted test on the same leg. Five sets of paired pendulum impacts (10 experiments in total) were found using four lower legs from two PMHS. The PMHS size and age was representative of an average young adult male. In these tests, a PMHS leg was impacted by a 3.4 or 5.8 kg pendulum with an initial velocity of 5, 7, or 10 m/s (42-288 J). A matching LS-DYNA finite element model was developed to replicate the experiments and provide additional energy, strain, and stress data. Simulation results matched the PMHS data using peak values and CORA curve correlations. Experimental forces ranged between 1.9 and 12.1 kN experimentally and 2.0 and 11.7 kN in simulation. Combat boot usage reduced the peak force by 36% experimentally (32% in simulation) by compressing the sole and insole with similar mitigations for calcaneus strain. The simulated Von Mises stress contours showed the boot both mitigating and shifting stress concentrations from the calcaneus in unbooted impacts to the talus-tibia joint in the booted impacts, which may explain why some previous studies have observed shifts to tibia injuries with boot or padding usage.