Head neck responses from volunteer experiments, as obtained in various loading directions by the Naval Biodynamics Laboratory, represent a unique set of data in the field of biomechanical research. From this a set of volunteer thoracic (T1) and head responses were selected as a reference for this study. Two loading conditions were considered i.e. frontal and lateral directions.
The objective of this study is to develop a finite element model of the human neck in frontal and lateral directions. The number of elements in the model was kept low in order to reduce the processing time for simulation and to minimize damping problems. The structure of the model is as follows: the vertebrae and the head were considered as rigid bodies. The interface between vertebrae such as discs and different ligaments are modelled by brick and spring elements. The passive action of the muscles are taken into account when determining the stiffness characteristics of the ligaments. Satisfactory results were obtained in terms of kinematic responses of the head (comparison with NBDL data) in frontal and lateral directions.
Further investigations are needed on the modelisation of the muscles to allow for injury prediction.
This paper describes the characteristics of this model, the rationale behind the definition of model elements, and the performance compared with the volunteer reference.