Assessment of Several THOR Thoracic Injury Criteria based on a New Post Mortem Human Subject Test Series and Recommendations 2019-22-0012
Several studies, available in the literature, were conducted to establish the most relevant criterion for predicting the thoracic injury risk on the THOR dummy. The criteria, such as the maximum deflection or a combination of parameters including the difference between the chest right and left deflections, were all developed based on given samples of Post Mortem Human Subject (PMHS). However, they were not validated against independent data and they are not always consistent with the observations from field data analysis. For this reason, 8 additional PMHS and matching THOR tests were carried out to assess the ability of the criteria to predict risks.
Accident investigations showed that a reduction of the belt loads reduces the risk of rib fractures. Two configurations with different levels of force limitation were therefore chosen. A configuration representing an average European vehicle was chosen as a reference. It consists of a 3-point belt with a 3.5 kN and then 2 kN digressive limiter, combined with a 54-liter airbag. For better reproducibility and durability, the tests were performed with a pre-inflated bag and a semi-rigid seat. In this first configuration, the THOR dummy had a maximum resulting deflection of 43 mm. To differentiate the criteria, the second configuration was chosen such that it resulted in about the same deflection on the THOR dummy, but with a 5 kN belt force limitation combined with a lower pressure airbag. To reach this target of 43 mm, the pulse severity was lowered. Some criteria were higher in this second configuration, which allows them to be distinguished from the maximum deflection criterion.
Four tests on four PMHS were performed in each configuration. The injury assessments showed that the total number of fractures was almost the same in both configurations, but that the number of separated fractures was greater in the 5 kN configuration. 25% of the subjects sustained AIS >3 injuries related to the number of displaced fractures in the 3.5/2 kN load limitation configuration. The result increased to 75% in the 5kN configuration.
In total, 8 PMHS and the matching THOR tests were performed and used to assess the ability of the thoracic criteria to predict rib fractures in 2 types of chest loading configurations. The test results did not allow to conclude on the relevance of the criteria measured on the THOR dummy for the total number of rib fractures identified at autopsy (NFR). However, clearly different assessments for separated rib fractures (NSFR), make it possible to differentiate the criteria. The maximum resultant deflection failed to properly predict separated rib fractures while other criteria that include the left-to-right rib deflection difference did.