Material‐modeling and structural‐mechanics aspects of the traumatic brain injury problem

M. Grujicic (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)
G. Arakere (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)
T. He (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA)

Multidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures

ISSN: 1573-6105

Publication date: 24 September 2010

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to conduct a combined Eulerian/Lagrangian fluid/solid transient non‐linear dynamics computational analysis of the interaction between a single planar blast wave and a human head in order to assess the extent of intra‐cranial shock wave generation and its potential for causing traumatic brain injury.

Design/methodology/approach

Two levels of blast peak overpressure were selected, one corresponding to the unprotected lung‐injury threshold while the other associated with a 50 percent probability for lung injury caused death. Collision of the head with a stationary/rigid barrier (at an initial collision velocity of 5 m/s) was also analyzed computationally, since blunt‐object impact conditions may lead to mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), i.e. concussion.

Findings

A comparison between the two blast and the single blunt‐object impact cases with the corresponding head‐to‐head‐collision results showed that, while the von Mises stress‐based head‐to‐head collision mTBI thresholds are not exceeded under blast‐loading conditions investigated, the high blast‐induced peak‐pressure levels within the intra‐cranial cavity may lead to mTBI.

Practical implications

While concussion is not generally considered as life altering/threatening, the associated temporary loss of situational awareness or consciousness may have devastating consequences in the case of common military tactical and battle‐field scenarios. This suggests that the head‐protection gear (primarily, the helmet) which are currently designed to withstand blunt‐object and ballistic impacts, should be redesigned in order to obtain the necessary level of head protection with respect to blast impact.

Originality/value

The paper provides a comprehensive computational investigation of impact on a human skull/brain assembly.

Keywords

Citation

Grujicic, M., Arakere, G. and He, T. (2010), "Material‐modeling and structural‐mechanics aspects of the traumatic brain injury problem", Multidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 335-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/15736101011080097

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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