Background: Improved understanding of the occupant loading conditions in real world crashes is critical for injury prevention and new vehicle design. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust methodology to reconstruct injuries sustained in real world crashes using vehicle and human body finite element models.
Methods: A real world near-side impact crash was selected from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) database. An average sedan was struck at approximately the B-pillar with a 290 degree principal direction of force by a lightweight pickup truck, resulting in a maximum crush of 45 cm and a crash reconstruction derived Delta-V of 28 kph. The belted 73-year-old midsized female driver sustained severe thoracic injuries, serious brain injuries, moderate abdominal injuries, and no pelvic injury. Vehicle finite element models were selected to reconstruct the crash. The bullet vehicle parameters were heuristically optimized to match the crush profile of the simulated struck vehicle and the case vehicle. The Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) midsized male finite element model of the human body was used to represent the case occupant and reconstruct her injuries using the head injury criterion (HIC), half deflection, thoracic trauma index (TTI), and pelvic force to predict injury risk. A variation study was conducted to evaluate the robustness of the injury predictions by varying the bullet vehicle parameters.
Results: The THUMS thoracic injury metrics resulted in a calculated risk exceeding 90% for AIS3+ injuries and 70% risk of AIS4+ injuries, consistent with her thoracic injury outcome. The THUMS model predicted seven rib fractures compared to the case occupant's 11 rib fractures, which are both AIS3 injuries. The pelvic injury risk for AIS2+ and AIS3+ injuries were 37% and 2.6%, respectively, consistent with the absence of pelvic injury. The THUMS injury prediction metrics were most sensitive to bullet vehicle location. The maximum 95% confidence interval width for the mean injury metrics was only 5% demonstrating high confidence in the THUMS injury prediction.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates a variation study methodology in which human body models can be reliably used to robustly predict injury probability consistent with real world crash injury outcome.