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Technical Paper

A Study of Cervical Spine Kinematics and Joint Capsule Strain in Rear Impacts using a Human FE Model

Many efforts have been made to understand the mechanism of whiplash injury. Recently, the cervical facet joint capsules have been focused on as a potential site of injury. An experimental approach has been taken to analyze the vertebral motion and to estimate joint capsule stretch that was thought to be a potential cause of pain. The purpose of this study is to analyze the kinematics of the cervical facet joint using a human FE model in order to better understand the injury mechanism. The Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) was used to visually analyze the local and global kinematics of the spine. Soft tissues in the neck were newly modeled and introduced into THUMS for estimating the loading level in rear impacts. The model was first validated against human test data in the literature by comparing vertebrae motion as well as head and neck responses. Joint capsule strain was estimated from a maximum principal strain output from the elements representing the capsule tissues.
Technical Paper

A Study of Knee Joint Kinematics and Mechanics using a Human FE Model

Posterior translation of the tibia with respect to the femur can stretch the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Fifteen millimeters of relative displacement between the femur and tibia is known as the Injury Assessment Reference Value (IARV) for the PCL injury. Since the anterior protuberance of the tibial plateau can be the first site of contact when the knee is flexed, the knee bolster is generally designed with an inclined surface so as not to directly load the projection in frontal crashes. It should be noted, however, that the initial flexion angle of the occupant knee can vary among individuals and the knee flexion angle can change due to the occupant motion. The behavior of the tibial protuberance related to the knee flexion angle has not been described yet. The instantaneous angle of the knee joint at the timing of restraining the knee should be known to manage the geometry and functions of knee restraint devices.
Technical Paper

A Study of Driver Injury Mechanism in High Speed Lateral Impacts of Stock Car Auto Racing Using a Human Body FE Model

This paper analyzed the mechanisms of injury in high speed, right-lateral impacts of stock car auto racing, and interaction of the occupant and the seat system for the purpose of reducing the risk of injury, primarily rib fractures. Many safety improvements have been made to stock car racing recently, including the Head and Neck Support devices (HANS®), the 6-point restraint harnesses, and the implementation of the SAFER Barrier. These improvements have contributed greatly to mitigating injury during the race crash event. However, there is still potential to improve the seat structure and the understanding of the interaction between the driver and the seat in the continuation of making racing safety improvements. This is particularly true in the case of right-lateral impacts where the primary interaction is between the seat supports and the driver and where the chest is the primary region of injury.
Technical Paper

Occupant Kinematics and Estimated Effectiveness of Side Airbags in Pole Side Impacts Using a Human FE Model with Internal Organs

When a car collides against a pole-like obstacle, the deformation pattern of the vehicle body-side tends to extend to its upper region. A possible consequence is an increase of loading to the occupant thorax. Many studies have been conducted to understand human thoracic responses to lateral loading, and injury criteria have been developed based on the results. However, injury mechanisms, especially those of internal organs, are not well understood. A human body FE model was used in this study to simulate occupant kinematics in a pole side impact. Internal organ parts were introduced into the torso model, including their geometric features, material properties and connections with other tissues. The mechanical responses of the model were validated against PMHS data in the literature. Although injury criterion for each organ has not been established, pressure level and its changes can be estimated from the organ models.
Technical Paper

Development and Validation of a Finite Element Model of a Vehicle Occupant

A finite element human model has been developed to simulate occupant behavior and to estimate injuries in real-world car crashes. The model represents an average adult male of the US population in a driving posture. Physical geometry, mechanical characteristics and joint structures were replicated as precise as possible. The total number of nodes and materials is around 67,000 and 1,000 respectively. Each part of the model was not only validated against human test data in the literature but also for realistic loading conditions. Additional tests were newly conducted to reproduce realistic loading to human subjects. A data set obtained in human volunteer tests was used for validating the neck part. The head-neck kinematics and responses in low-speed rear impacts were compared between the measured and calculated results. The validity of the lower extremity part was examined by comparing the tibia force in a foot impact between the test data and simulation results.
Journal Article

Analysis of Driver Kinematics and Lower Thoracic Spine Injury in World Endurance Championship Race Cars during Frontal Impacts

This study used finite element (FE) simulations to analyze the injury mechanisms of driver spine fracture during frontal crashes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) series and possible countermeasures are suggested to help reduce spine fracture risk. This FE model incorporated the Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) scaled to a driver, a model of the detailed racecar cockpit and a model of the seat/restraint systems. A frontal impact deceleration pulse was applied to the cockpit model. In the simulation, the driver chest moved forward under the shoulder belt and the pelvis was restrained by the crotch belt and the leg hump. The simulation predicted spine fracture at T11 and T12. It was found that a combination of axial compression force and bending moment at the spine caused the fractures. The axial compression force and bending moment were generated by the shoulder belt down force as the driver’s chest moved forward.
Technical Paper

A Severe Ankle and Foot Injury in Frontal Crashes and Its Mechanism

In a frontal automotive crash, the driver's foot is usually stepping on the brake pedal as an instinctive response to avoid a collision. The tensile force generated in the Achilles tendon produces a compressive preload on the tibia. If there is intrusion of the toe board after the crash, an additional external force is applied to the driver's foot. A series of dynamic impact tests using human cadaveric specimens was conducted to investigate the combined effect of muscle preloading and external force. A constant tendon force was applied to the calcaneus while an external impact force was applied to the forefoot by a rigid pendulum. Preloading the tibia significantly increased the tibial axial force and the combination of these forces resulted in five tibial pylon fractures out of sixteen specimens.
Technical Paper

Occupant Kinematics in Simulated Autonomous Driving Vehicle Collisions: Influence of Seating Position, Direction and Angle

This two-part study analyzed occupant kinematics in simulated collisions of future automated driving vehicles in terms of seating configuration. In part one, a frontal collision was simulated with four occupants with the front seats reversed. The left front seat occupant was unbelted while the others were belted. In part two of the study, occupant restraint was examined in various seating configurations using a single seat model with a three-point seatbelt. The seat direction with respect to impact was considered as forward, rearward, and lateral facing in 45 degree increments. The effect of seat recline was also studied in the forward-facing and rear-facing cases by assuming three positions: driving position, resting position and relaxed position. Occupants were represented by human body finite element models.