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Technical Paper

A Method for the Experimental Investigation of Acceleration as a Mechanism of Aortic Injury

Rupture of the thoracic aorta is a leading cause of rapid fatality in automobile crashes, but the mechanism of this injury remains unknown. One commonly postulated mechanism is a differential motion of the aortic arch relative to the heart and its neighboring vessels caused by high-magnitude acceleration of the thorax. Recent Indy car crash data show, however, that humans can withstand accelerations exceeding 100 g with no injury to the thoracic vasculature. This paper presents a method to investigate the efficacy of acceleration as an aortic injury mechanism using high-acceleration, low chest deflection sled tests. The repeatability and predictability of the test method was evaluated using two Hybrid III tests and two tests with cadaver subjects. The cadaver tests resulted in sustained mid-spine accelerations of up to 80 g for 20 ms with peak mid-spine accelerations of up to 175 g, and maximum chest deflections lower than 11% of the total chest depth.
Technical Paper

Advancements in Crash Sensing

The crash modes that occur each day on streets and highways have not changed dramatically over the past 50 years. The need to better understand those crash modes and their relation to rapidly emerging, tailorable restraint systems has intensified recently. The algorithms necessary for predicting a deployment event are based on an approach of coupling the occupant kinematics in a crash to the sensing technology that will activate the restraint system. This paper describes methods of computer modeling, occupant sensing and vehicle crash dynamics to define a crash sensing system that reacts to a complex set of input conditions to invoke an effective restraint response.
Technical Paper

Assessment of 3 and 6-Year-Old Neck Injury Criteria Based on Field Investigation, Modeling, and Sled Testing

The intent of this study was to compare the neck responses measured from the Hybrid III 3 and 6-year-old ATDs in laboratory testing to injuries sustained by three children in a field crash and investigate the appropriateness of recommended in-position neck injury assessment reference values (IARVs), and the regulated out-of-position (OOP) IARVs specified in FMVSS 208 for the Hybrid III 3 and 6-year-old ATDs. This paper principally reports on apparent artifacts associated with the Hybrid III 3 and 6-year-old ATDs, which complicated investigating the appropriateness of the in-position and out-of-position neck IARVs. In tests using 3-point belt restraints, these apparent artifacts included: 1) High neck extension moments, which produced the peak Nij values, without significant observed relative head-to-neck motion, 2) Neck tension forces well in excess of the IARVs that occurred when the ATD's chin contacted the chest.
Technical Paper

Blood Flow and Fluid-Structure Interactions in the Human Aorta During Traumatic Rupture Conditions

Traumatic aortic rupture (TAR) accounts for a significant mortality in automobile crashes. A numerical method by means of a mesh-based code coupling is employed to elucidate the injury mechanism of TAR. The aorta is modeled as a single-layered thick wall composed of two families of collagen fibers using an anisotropic strain energy function with consideration of viscoelasticity. A set of constitutive parameters is identified from experimental data of the human aorta, providing strict local convexity. An in vitro aorta model reconstructed from the Visible Human dataset is applied to the pulsatile blood flow to establish the references of mechanical quantities for physiological conditions. A series of simulations is performed using the parameterized impact pulses obtained from frontal sled tests.
Technical Paper

Comparison of Belted Hybrid III, THOR, and Cadaver Thoracic Responses in Oblique Frontal and Full Frontal Sled Tests

This paper compares restrained Hybrid III and THOR thoracic kinematics and cadaver injury outcome in 30° oblique frontal and in full frontal sled tests. Peak shoulder belt tension, the primary source of chest loading, changed by less than four percent and peak chest resultant acceleration changed by less than 10% over the 30° range tested. Thoracic kinematics were likewise insensitive to the direction of the collision vector, though they were markedly different between the two dummies. Mid-sternal Hybrid III chest deflection, measured by the standard sternal potentiometer and by supplemental internal string potentiometers, was slightly lower (∼10%) in the oblique tests, but the oblique tests produced a negligible increase in lateral movement of the sternum. In an attempt to understand the biofidelity of these dummy responses, a series of 30-km/h human cadaver tests having several collision vectors (0°, 15°, 30°, 45°) was analyzed.
Technical Paper

Impact Response of Restrained PMHS in Frontal Sled Tests: Skeletal Deformation Patterns Under Seat Belt Loading

This study evaluated the response of restrained post-mortem human subjects (PMHS) in 40 km/h frontal sled tests. Eight male PMHS were restrained on a rigid planar seat by a custom 3-point shoulder and lap belt. A video motion tracking system measured three-dimensional trajectories of multiple skeletal sites on the torso allowing quantification of ribcage deformation. Anterior and superior displacement of the lower ribcage may have contributed to sternal fractures occurring early in the event, at displacement levels below those typically considered injurious, suggesting that fracture risk is not fully described by traditional definitions of chest deformation. The methodology presented here produced novel kinematic data that will be useful in developing biofidelic human models.
Technical Paper

Investigation of Traumatic Brain Injuries Using the Next Generation of Simulated Injury Monitor (SIMon) Finite Element Head Model

The objective of this study was to investigate potential for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) using a newly developed, geometrically detailed, finite element head model (FEHM) within the concept of a simulated injury monitor (SIMon). The new FEHM is comprised of several parts: cerebrum, cerebellum, falx, tentorium, combined pia-arachnoid complex (PAC) with cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), ventricles, brainstem, and parasagittal blood vessels. The model's topology was derived from human computer tomography (CT) scans and then uniformly scaled such that the mass of the brain represents the mass of a 50th percentile male's brain (1.5 kg) with the total head mass of 4.5 kg. The topology of the model was then compared to the preliminary data on the average topology derived from Procrustes shape analysis of 59 individuals. Material properties of the various parts were assigned based on the latest experimental data.
Technical Paper


Concern about crash conditions other than frontal and side crashes has accelerated restraint development with respect to rollover events. Previous analysis of rollover field data indicates the high probability of ejection and consequent serious injury or death to unbelted occupants. Partial ejection of belted occupants may also occur. Restraint development has focused on belt technologies and more recently, airbag systems as a method to reduce ejection and injury risk. Effective restraint development for these emerging technologies should consider a combined approach of field injury data analysis, computer simulation of rollover, corresponding validated test data and hardware development techniques. First, crash data was analyzed for identified rollover modes (crash sequences) and injured body regions. This helped to determine possible restraint interventions.
Technical Paper

Rear Seat Occupant Safety: Kinematics and Injury of PMHS Restrained by a Standard 3-Point Belt in Frontal Crashes

Very little experimental research has focused on the kinematics, dynamics, and injuries of rear-seated occupants. This study seeks to develop a baseline response for rear-seated post mortem human surrogates (PMHS) in frontal crashes. Three PMHS sled tests were performed in a sled buck designed to represent the interior rear-seat compartment of a contemporary midsized sedan. All occupants were positioned in the right-rear passenger seat and subjected to simulated frontal crashes with an impact speed of 48 km/h. The subjects were restrained by a standard, rear seat, 3-point seat belt. The response of each subject was evaluated in terms of whole-body kinematics, dynamics, and injury. All the PMHS experienced excessive forward translation of the pelvis resulting in a backward rotation of the torso at the time of maximum forward excursion.
Technical Paper

The Utility of Hybrid III and THOR Chest Deflection for Discriminating Between Standard and Force-Limiting Belt Systems

Recent field data studies have shown that force-limiting belt systems reduce the occurrence of thoracic injuries in frontal crashes relative to standard (not force-limiting) belt systems. Laboratory cadaver tests have also shown reductions in trauma, as well as in chest deflection, associated with a force-limiting belt. On the other hand, tests using anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) have shown trends indicating increased, decreased, or unchanged chest deflection. This paper attempts to resolve previous experimental studies by comparing the anterior-posterior and lateral chest deflections measured by the THOR and Hybrid III (H-III) dummies over a range of experimental conditions. The analysis involves nineteen 48-km/h and 57-km/h sled tests utilizing force-limiting and standard seat belt systems, both with an air bag. Tests on both the driver side and the passenger side are considered.
Technical Paper

Thoracic Response of Belted PMHS, the Hybrid III, and the THOR-NT Mid-Sized Male Surrogates in Low-Speed, Frontal Crashes

Injury to the thorax is the predominant cause of fatalities in crash-involved automobile occupants over the age of 65, and many elderly-occupant automobile fatalities occur in crashes below compliance or consumer information test speeds. As the average age of the automotive population increases, thoracic injury prevention in lower severity crashes will play an increasingly important role in automobile safety. This study presents the results of a series of sled tests to investigate the thoracic deformation, kinematic, and injury responses of belted post-mortem human surrogates (PMHS, average age 44 years) and frontal anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) in low-speed frontal crashes. Nine 29 km/h (three PMHS, three Hybrid III 50th% male ATD, three THOR-NT ATD) and three 38 km/h (one PMHS, two Hybrid III) frontal sled tests were performed to simulate an occupant seated in the right front passenger seat of a mid-sized sedan restrained with a standard (not force-limited) 3-point seatbelt.
Technical Paper

Thoracic Response to Dynamic, Non-Impact Loading from a Hub, Distributed Belt, Diagonal Belt, and Double Diagonal Belts

This paper presents thoracic response corridors developed using fifteen post-mortem human subjects (PMHS) subjected to single and double diagonal belt, distributed, and hub loading on the anterior thorax. We believe this is the first study to quantify the force-deflection response of the same thorax to different loading conditions using dynamic, non-impact, restraint-like loading. Subjects were positioned supine on a table and a hydraulic master-slave cylinder arrangement was used with a high-speed materials testing machine to provide controlled chest deflection at a rate similar to that experienced by restrained PMHS in a 48-km/h sled test. All loading conditions were tested at a nominally non-injurious level initially. When the battery of non-injurious tests was completed, a single loading condition was used for a final, injurious test (nominal 40% chest deflection).
Technical Paper

Thoraco-Abdominal Deflection Responses of Post Mortem Human Surrogates in Side Impacts

The objective of the present study was to determine the thorax and abdomen deflections sustained by post mortem human surrogate (PMHS) in oblique side impact sled tests and compare the responses and injuries with pure lateral tests. Oblique impact tests were conducted using modular and non-modular load-wall designs, with the former capable of accommodating varying anthropometry. Tests were conducted at 6.7 m/s velocity. Deflection responses from chestbands were analyzed from 15 PMHS tests: five each from modular load-wall oblique, non-modular load-wall oblique and non-modular load-wall pure lateral impacts. The thorax and abdomen peak deflections were greater in non-modular load-wall oblique than pure lateral tests. Peak abdomen deflections were statistically significantly different while the upper thorax deflections demonstrated a trend towards significance.
Technical Paper

Whole-body Kinematic and Dynamic Response of Restrained PMHS in Frontal Sled Tests

The literature contains a wide range of response data describing the biomechanics of isolated body regions. Current data for the validation of frontal anthropomorphic test devices and human body computational models lack, however, a detailed description of the whole-body response to loading with contemporary restraints in automobile crashes.