This paper is concerned with the determination of the mechanical properties of human cranial bone in tension. Conventional materials testing machines were used to obtain the stress-strain relations for over 120 specimens from thirty subjects. The specimens were taken from the compact layers of parietal, temporal and frontal bone at autopsy. Data were collected at strain rates ranging from 0·005 to 150 sec−1.
The results show that there is no detectable variation in the properties for all specimen orientations tangent to the surface of the skull. The modulus of elasticity, the breaking stress, and the breaking strain are rate sensitive. The energy absorbed to failure is not rate sensitive. Statistical analysis of the data reveals no important differences in the modulus of elasticity, the breaking stress, the breaking strain, or the energy absorbed to failure when compared according to type of bone, side of body or age of the individual.
These data provide a basis for selecting candidate materials for a physical head model. They also help the mathematician to formulate a constitutive equation and enable him to obtain numerical results from his equations.