Human head-neck computational model for assessing blast injury

J. C. Roberts, T. P. Harrigan, E. E. Ward, T. M. Taylor, M. S. Annett, A. C. Merkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A human head finite element model (HHFEM) was developed to study the effects of a blast to the head. To study both the kinetic and kinematic effects of a blast wave, the HHFEM was attached to a finite element model of a Hybrid III ATD neck. A physical human head surrogate model (HSHM) was developed from solid model files of the HHFEM, which was then attached to a physical Hybrid III ATD neck and exposed to shock tube overpressures. This allowed direct comparison between the HSHM and HHFEM. To develop the temporal and spatial pressures on the HHFEM that would simulate loading to the HSHM, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the HHFEM in front of a shock tube was generated. CFD simulations were made using loads equivalent to those seen in experimental studies of the HSHM for shock tube driver pressures of 517, 690 and 862. kPa. Using the selected brain material properties, the peak intracranial pressures, temporal and spatial histories of relative brain-skull displacements and the peak relative brain-skull displacements in the brain of the HHFEM compared favorably with results from the HSHM. The HSHM sensors measured the rotations of local areas of the brain as well as displacements, and the rotations of the sensors in the sagittal plane of the HSHM were, in general, correctly predicted from the HHFEM. Peak intracranial pressures were between 70 and 120. kPa, while the peak relative brain-skull displacements were between 0.5 and 3.0. mm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2899-2906
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 15 2012


  • Blast
  • Brain injury
  • Finite element models (FEM)
  • Human models
  • Surrogate models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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