Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Analysis of spinal motion and loads during frontal impacts. Comparison between PMHS and ATD.

TitleAnalysis of spinal motion and loads during frontal impacts. Comparison between PMHS and ATD.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLopez-Valdes FJ, Lau A, Lamp J, Riley P, Lessley DJ, Damon A, Kindig M, Kent R, Balasubramanian S, Seacrist T, Maltese MR, Arbogast KB, Higuchi K, Tanji H
JournalAnn Adv Automot Med
Date Published2010

Quantifying the kinematics of the human spine during a frontal impact is a challenge due to the multi-degree-of-freedom structure of the vertebral column. This papers reports on a series of six frontal impacts sled tests performed on three Post Mortem Human Surrogates (PMHS). Each subject was exposed first to a low-speed, non-injurious frontal impact (9 km/h) and then to a high-speed one (40 km/h). Five additional tests were performed using the Hybrid III 50(th) percentile male ATD for comparison with the PMHS. A 3D motion capture system was used to record the 6-degree-of-freedom motion of body segments (head, T1, T8, L2, L4 and pelvis). The 3D trajectories of individual bony structures in the PMHS were determined using bone-mounted marker arrays, thus avoiding skin-attached markers and their potential measurements artifacts. The PMHS spines showed different behavior between low and high speed. While at low speed the head and upper spinal segments lagged the lower portion of the spine and pelvis in reaching their maximum forward displacement (time for maximum forward head excursion was 254.3±31.9 ms and 140.3±9 ms for the pelvis), these differences were minimal at high speed (127±2.6 ms for the head vs. 116.7±3.5 ms for the pelvis). The ATD did not exhibit this speed-dependant behavior. Furthermore, the ATD's forward displacements were consistently less than those exhibited by the PMHS, regardless of the speed. Neck loads at the atlanto-occipital joint were estimated for the PMHS using inverse dynamics techniques and compared to those measured in the ATD. It was found that the axial and shear forces and the flexion moment at the upper neck of the PMHS were higher than those measured in the ATD.

Alternate JournalAnn Adv Automot Med
PubMed ID21050592