Human thoracic dynamic responses and injuries associated with frontal impact, side impact, and belt loading were investigated and predicted using a complete human body finite element model for an average adult male. The human body model was developed to study the impact biomechanics of a vehicular occupant. Its geometry was based on the Visible Human Project (National Library of Medicine) and the topographies from human body anatomical texts. The data was then scaled to an average adult male according to available biomechanical data from the literature. The model includes details of the head, neck, ribcage, abdomen, thoracic and lumbar spine, internal organs of the chest and abdomen, pelvis, and the upper and lower extremities. The present study is focused on the dynamic response and injuries of the thorax.
The model was validated at various impact speeds by comparing predicted responses with available experimental cadaver data in frontal and side pendulum impacts, as well as belt loading. Model responses were compared with similar individual cadaver tests instead of using cadaver corridors because the large differences between the upper and lower bounds of the corridors may confound the model validation. The validated model was then used to study thorax dynamic responses and injuries in various simulated impact conditions. Parameters that could induce injuries such as force, deflection, and stress were computed from model simulations and were compared with previously proposed thoracic injury criteria to assess injury potential for the thorax.
It has been shown that the model exhibited speed sensitive impact characteristics, and the compressibility of the internal organs significantly influenced the overall impact response in the simulated impact conditions. This study demonstrates that the development of a validated FE human body model could be useful for injury assessment in various cadaveric impacts reported in the literature. Internal organ injuries, which are difficult to detect in experimental studies with human cadavers, can be more easily identified with a validated finite element model through stress-strain analysis, especially in conjunction with experimental studies.