A 2D physical model of the human head was used to investigate how the irregular skull base structure affects brain kinematics during sagittal plane head dynamics. The model consisted of a rigid skull vessel with interchangeable skull base structures. One version of the model used a skull base mimicking the irregular geometry of the human. A second version used a skull base structure approximating the anterior and middle fossae as a flat surface. Silicone gel simulated the brain and was separated from the vessel by a paraffin layer which provided a slip condition at the interface between the gel and vessel. The model was exposed to 7600 rad/s² peak rotational acceleration with 6 ms pulse duration and 5° forced rotation. After 90° free rotation, the model was decelerated during 30 ms. Five repeated tests were conducted with each version. Rigid body displacement, shear strain and principal strains were determined from high-speed video recorded trajectories of grid markers located at different positions in the surrogate brain. The humanlike skull base reduced peak displacements of the inferior surfaces of the temporal and frontal lobes up to 87% and 48%, respectively. Up to 48% and 36% higher peak strains were obtained in the frontal and superior regions of the surrogate brain in the version containing the humanlike skull base. In contrast, the humanlike skull base decreased peak strain up to 28% in the central region of the surrogate brain. The results indicate that the irregular skull base offers natural protection of nerves and vessels passing through fissures and foramina in the cranial floor but also that it affects kinematics in different regions throughout the cerebrum. Implications of these results are discussed with respect to brain injury and modeling of head impact.
Keywords: Brain Kinematics, Head Injury, Impact Biomechanics, Natural Protection Skull Base