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Accid. And. & Pw. Vol. 21. No. 6. pp. 553-574, 1989 Printed in Great Britain.

caol-4575/89 s3.00+ .oo 0 1989 Pergamon Press pk


DAVID C. VIANO, IAN V. LAU, and CORBIN ASBURY Biomedical Science Department, General Motors Research Laboratories, Warren, MI 480909055, U.S.A.
and Bioengineering ALBERT I. KING and PAUL BEGEMAN Center, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, U.S. A.
(Received 22 December 1988)

Abstract-Fourteen unembalmed cadavers were subjected to 44 blunt lateral impacts at velocities of approximately 4.5,6.7, or 9.4 m/s with a 15 cm flat circular interface on a 23.4 kg pendulum accelerated to impact speed by a pneumatic impactor. Chest and abdominal injuries consisted primarily of rib fractures, with a few cases of lung or liver laceration in the highest severity impacts. There were two cases of pubic ramus fracture in the pelvic impacts. Logist analysis of the biomechanical responses and injury indicated that the maximum Viscous response had a slightly better correlation with injury than maximum compression for chest and abdominal impacts. A tolerance level of VC = 1.47 m/s for the chest and VC = 1.98 m/s for the abdomen were determined for a 25% probability of critical injury. Maximum compression was similarly set at C = 38% for the chest and at C = 44% for the abdomen. The experiments indicate that chest and abdominal injury may occur by a viscous mechanism during the rapid phase of body compression, and that the Viscous and compression responses are effective, complementary measures of injury risk in side impact. Although serious pelvic injury was infrequent, lateral public ramus fracture correlated with compression of the pelvis, not impact force or pelvic acceleration. Pelvic tolerance was set at 27% compression.


One of the next frontiers in automotive safety is to improve occupant protection in side impact crashes. The basis for product improvements is an understanding of crash types and interior contacts that result in serious and fatal injury when the vehicle is struck on the side. It is also important to understand the underlying mechanism of injury and human response to lateral impact forces since these are the bases to develop applicable injury criteria and set human tolerance levels. This information is also pivotal to the development of anthropomorphic test devices or surrogates that have human-like responses to force and can be used in crash or impact tests to evaluate potential countermeasures. The foundation for this study is injury biomechanics [National Research Council (NRC) 1985; Viano et al. 1989a; Viano 19881. An evaluation of side impact crash injuries from the 1986 Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 19881 indicates that 31.8% of passenger car fatalities occur in crashes with the principal direction of force lateral on the vehicle (Fig. 1). Two thirds of the fatalities are in multivehicle accidents where the car is struck by a passenger car, truck, or other vehicle, while the other third involve single vehicle accidents into primarily fixed objects. Approximately an equal number of fatalities occur in driver side and passenger side lateral impact crashes, and the toll in human life is about 8,000 victims annually. A recent study of individual multivehicle side impact crashes was conducted by Viano et al. (forthcoming) using selected cases from National Accident Sampling System (NASS) and National Crash Severity Study (NCSS). It indicates that a majority of the fatal crashes occur at an intersection and that the victim is primarily an older occupant. An evaluation of national statistics from NASS indicates that when side and frontal impact crashes are compared side impacts represent about 47% of the crashes involving serious to fatal passenger car injury. When crashes are separated into multivehicle (car553


D. C. VIANO et al.







11,322 TOTAL 2,465 SIDE 11

13,600 TOTAL 5,450 SIDE m

Fig. 1. Distribution of impacts by principle direction of force in single-vehicle and multivehicle fatal crashes (1986 FARS). Side impacts are 31.8% of the fatalities.

car) or fixed object impacts, the age of the occupant emerges as an important factor in side impact crashes. In particular, multivehicle side impact crashes are a major fraction (40%-54%) of the cause of injuries to occupants over the age of 40, whereas occupants of this age range are infrequently involved in side impact crashes into fixed objects. Additional studies of individual fatal multivehicle side impact crashes in NASS and NCSS indicates that a majority (52%) of fatal injury involves the chest and abdomen with impact on the side interior a principal factor. This level of involvement is similar to that observed in other epidemiologic studies (Malliaris et al. 1982; Foret-Bruno et al. 1983; Partyka and Rezabek 1983; Mills and Hobbs 1984; Otte et al. 1984; Danner et al. 1985; Rouhana and Foster 1985; Thomas et al. 1987). However, hip fractures are an important complicating injury in older patients (Kelsey et al 1978, Holbrook et al 1984) and should be considered in side impact testing. Based on this information, the current study addresses the biomechanics of chest, abdominal, and pelvic impact in simulated multivehicle crashes where serious injury may occur from side interior contact. The research focuses on an investigation of the mechanisms of injury and tolerance to blunt lateral impact of unembalmed cadavers. The current study simulates the forces of contact on the chest, abdomen, and pelvis in a side impact crash. A pendulum impact mass is used to load the body over a range of impact speeds and follows a protocol that has been used previously to study frontal impact responses (Kroell 1976; Kroell et al. 1981, 1986; Hess et al. 1982; NHTSA 1986; Viano 1978). This allows direct comparison of the lateral impact responses to the current understanding from frontal tests, and takes advantage of a proven methodology for research on impact biomechanics. The study also addresses a range of candidate mechanical responses for injury assessment. These include the Viscous (Viano and Lau 1983,1988; Lau and Viano 1986, Rouhana et al. 1984) and compression (Nahum et al. 1970; Kroell et al. 1971; Neathery 1974; Sacrests et al. 1982) responses for the chest and abdomen since they are an effective measure of injury risk by impact and crushing mechanisms, respectively. Based on Cesari et al. (1980) and Cesari and Ramet (1982), hip acceleration is investigated for pelvic fracture. The Viscous response is evaluated since it is an underlying mechanism of soft tissue trauma to internal organs and vessels in frontal impact. It also helps pinpoint the time of greatest injury risk in an impact. This has focused efforts on vehicle design changes to improve product safety (Lau et al. 1987). The Viscous response measures the risk of serious and life-threatening trauma in cadaver and animal studies. In addition, there are Logist risk functions currently available to assess severe injury risk as part of routine crash and impact testing with the Hybrid III dummy (Horsch, et al. 1985; Lau et al. 1987).

Biomechanics of the human chest, abdomen, and pelvis in lateral impact


Although response and injury will be compared with peak acceleration measurements, acceleration is an unsatisfactory correlate and not a causal factor in soft tissue human chest and abdomin~ injury (Kroell et al. 1974; Cesari et al. 1981; Brun-Cassan et al. 1987). Even so, accelerations have been included in this study to further evaluate the sufficiency of this approach for safety assessment. Although acceleration criteria have a rich history in product safety testing, our current understandings of human injury indicate that body deformations are the causal factor of soft tissue chest and abdominal injury and such deformation is not adequately assessed by acceleration measures (Viano 1987a; Lau and Viano 1988; Tarriere et al. 1988). Because of the high compliance of the hip to lateral forces, pelvic acceleration may be a measure of skeletal injury risk, but we will also evaluate deformation of the pelvis as a potential injury criterion. A scientific understanding of frontal impact injury biomechanics has been developed by using the pendulum impact methods of this study. This approach has successfully led to the development of human-like body deformation characteristics that include the force-deflection or compliance behavior of the chest and abdomen under impact loading. The data has enabled the development of improved anthropomorphic test devices (ATD) that realistically simulate the human response in frontal impact (Foster et al. 1977; Horsch and Viano 1984) and better assess product safety improvements (Melvin et al. 1985; Mertz 1985). There has also been an advance in our understanding of the mechanisms of injury and tolerance criteria of the human body to impact force. Much of this has been based on human cadaver tests, which help define body compliance and assess injury severity based on skeletal trauma. Comparable research (Viano et al. 1989c; Kroell et al. 1986) has been conducted for frontal and lateral impacts with a physiological model to study life-threatening trauma by laceration or rupture of internal organs and vessels or by interruption of normal cardiac or respiratory function. In frontal and lateral impact, the Viscous response has been shown to be the principal mechanical cause of soft tissue injury and this study aimed to assess its comparable tolerance level and risk function in lateral impacts of human cadavers while furthering our understanding of lateral impact
biomechanics .




Unembahned cadavers were provided through the Department of Anatomy at Wayne State University Medical School as part of a willed-body program. * They had an average age of 53.8 it 13.9 years and body mass of 67.2 * 16.2 kg (Table 1). Anthropometric data were compiled for each specimen prior to testing and followed recommended practices of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Department of Transportation. Specimen selection and handling The specimens were selected on an age, condition, and cause of death criteria, which limited age to approximately 65 years unless the specimen was of good skeletal condition, to specimen not having a long period of bed rest or debilitating disease prior to death, and to specimen without infectious disease. Each specimen was examined radiologically to assure against preexisting fractures or anomalies that would influence experimental responses. All cadavers were tested after rigormortis had passed. In some of the specimens, the average time lapsed between expiration and actual testing was one to two weeks. In other specimens, the time lapse was greater between the expiration and testing, so the specimen was frozen (4F) for a period of time. Prior to testing, the specimens were stored in a refrigerator unit at 35F. No attempt was made to bring internal body
*The rationale and experimental protocol for use of human cadaver research subjects in this program have been reviewed by the Research Laboratories Human Research Committee. The research complies with the provisions of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, follows guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Trans~rtation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and commendations of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and adheres to the provisions of The Declaration of Helsinki.


D. C. VIANO et al. Table 1. WSU lateral impact cadaver information


# : 4 x 9:10 11-13 14-16 17-22 23-28 29-33 34,35 36-39 40-4s

Cadaver # 863 RNfl 935 847 954 llNY2 956 993 986 047 008 063 UOMI uoM2


44 be=.) 49 76 63 38 66 : 49 29 62 52 64 37 64

Weight w 107.00 44.00 69.85 56.25 56.26 61.69 76.20 70.76 70.30 83.91 53.07 46.54 67.59 75.76

Height (-1 176.0 153.6 174.0 166.5 159.0 171.0 175.0 173.0 173.0 176.5 157.0 173.0 186.5 178.6

Breadth (=I 37.5 26.8 Z:oO 27.0 28.0 29.5 31.5 30.0 32.5 28.5 32.0 30.5 33.5

Waist Breadth (-1

Hip Breadth (cm) 37.0 28.5 28.0 31.5 29.0 35.0 39.5 32.5 33.5 37.0 33.0 32.0 32.5 39.5

25.6 27.0 as.5 33.0 33.5 31.6 28.0 34.5 29.5 34.0 30.5 34.5

Female YSlS Yale Yale

temperature up to physiologic levels at the time of testing. However, the specimens were exposed to room temperature for several hours during instrumentation and preparation. Znstrumentution and preparation. The cadaver was instrumented with an array of accelerometers attached to the spine and pelvis. A triaxial accelerometer package was attached to the first, eighth, and twelfth thoracic vertebrae and a similar triaxial accelerometer package attached to the pelvic region at the third sacral vertebra. Targets were attached to the triaxial clusters for photographic coverage and film analysis. The arterial system of the cadaver was pressurized by normal saline infused through a Foley catheter inserted with its end in the aorta above the diaphragm. A vent tube was inserted in the brachial artery. Prior to an experiment, the catheter balloon was pressurized to block the flow below it and saline was pumped into the body until it flowed out of the vent tube. The vent was then clamped, thus ensuring that the system above the blockage included the chest and upper abdominal organs. The lung was carefully drained of fluid and aerated repeatedly with room air prior to testing. The lung was pressurized. Necropsy. After testing, x-rays were taken, instrumentation was removed from the specimen, and the cadaver was returned to cold storage. Autopsy was performed by a board certified pathologist, and special attention was paid to injury of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. At the completion of the necropsy, the specimen was returned to the Department of Anatomy for appropriate disposition. Data analysis. High-speed movies of the impact were taken at 2,000 frames per second from the frontal and 500 frames per second from the posterior and overhead views. Frame-by-frame analysis of the impact formed the basis for the instantaneous deflection data of the torso and hip. Deflection data were processed using an established algorithm by Viano and Lau (1988) and Lau and Viano (1986) to derive the compression and Viscous responses. Contact was indicated by a flash on a movie frame and a simultaneous tick mark on an electronic data channel, generated by the same contact switch closure. This defined time zero. In the film analysis, interpolation was made between adjacent frames to establish time zero where necessary. The acceleration channels were processed according to a digital Society of Automotive Engineers (1987) channel class or a finite impulse response filter. A summary follows of the injury criteria and injury functions that were examined for their discriminating ability in linking mechanical inputs with injury outcomes and defining tolerance levels for critical injury.
Injury functions

Viscous Response [VC(t)]-A time function produced by multiplying the instanteous velocity of deformation and compression responses (units in m/s, derived from film data). Compression Response [ C(t)]-The instantaneous deformation divided by the initial torso thickness along the axis of the impact (dimensionless, derived from film data).

Biomechanics of the human chest, abdomen, and pelvis in lateral



Spinal Acceleration Response [ Gsp(t)]-Instantaneous lateral acceleration of the spine measured by an accelerometer on Tl, T8, T12, or pelvis at S3 (units in g derived from electronic data). Force [F(t)]-Impact force resulting from pendulum contact (units in kN, derived from acceleration of the pendulum from electronic data multiplied by the pendulum mass).
Injury criteria

Viscous Criterion [VC]max-The peak Viscous response. Compression Criterion [ C]max-The peak compression response. Spinal Acceleration Criterion [Gsplmax-The peak lateral or resultant spinal acceleration response. Force Criterion [F]mar-The peak force acting on the body.
Statistical methods. Injury risk functions were computed using the logist function in the Statistical Analysis Package (SAS). This function relates the probability of injury occurrence P(X) to the magnitude of a response parameter x based on a statistical fit to a sigmoidal function P(X) = [l + exp(cw - Qx)]-. The goodness-of-fit of the statistic is quantified by the chi-squared x2, p-value (p), and correlation coefficient (R). The impact. While the initial tests were conducted with the WSU translational impactor, subsequent experiments were conducted with a power-assisted pendulum (Fig. 2). The 23.4 kg pendulum was freely suspended by guide wires and accelerated to impact speeds of approximately 4.5,6.7, or 9.4 m/s in 5 cm by a pneumatically charged cylinder with thrust piston. The impactor operates on the following principle. The thrust piston is attached to a disc that slides tightly in the charge cylinder and is set against an orifice plate by a holding pressure. A small diameter O-ring seals the set chamber from the opening to the charge cylinder. Because of the area difference, a much larger pressure can be put into the charge cylinder with equilibrium being maintained (a higher force on the disc from the set chamber). The level of charge pressure determines the thrust velocity. Impact is initiated by injecting a triggering pressure between the sliding disc and



Fig. 2. Experimental set-up with a pneumatic power-assisted pendulum and upright supported specimen. MP21:6-D


D. C. VIANO et al.

orifice plate and venting the set chamber. This allows the greater charge pressure to act on the entire diameter of the disc and rapidly accelerates the piston and power pendulum to impact speed. After 10 cm of travel, the disc and piston are decelerated by an internal pad allowing the pendulum to continue in free flight. Impact speed was confirmed by a light-beam trap and time-interval counter. The forward motion of the pendulum was abruptly stopped after 20 cm of contact by a force-limiting cable tether. The cadaver was suspended upright with hands and arms overhead. The specimen was rotated 30 so the point of pendulum contact was lateral on the thorax or abdomen. This protocol was used to assure that full lateral thoracic and abdominal impact occurred with the axis of force through the center of gravity of the torso. It resulted in controlled compression of the torso without coincident rotation of the body about the spine axis. The center of pendulum impact on the thorax was aligned with the xiphoid process (7.5 cm below midsternum). Abdominal impact was aligned 7.5 cm below the xiphoid (1.5 cm below midsternum). Pelvic impacts were conducted at 90 lateral with the impactor centered on the greater trochanter. The pendulum interface was a smooth, flat, 15 cm diameter circular disc with the edges rounded. The axis of impact force was aligned through the center of gravity of the torso for chest and abdomen tests (approximately 2 cm anterior of the intrathoracic surface of the vertebrae). A uniaxial accelerometer was attached to the pendulum and its response was multiplied by the pendulum mass to give the force of impact. A suspension system released the arms at impact and approximated a free torso response to impact. The off-side of impact was padded to gradually support the free body response. Multiple tests were conducted on a specimen to increase biomechanical response data. This could include a low-severity left abdominal impact, an injurious high-severity thoracic test, and a lateral pelvic impact. Injuries were assigned to the appropriate impact condition.

Peak biomechanical responses and resulting injuries are summarized in Tables 2-4 for the three severities of impact on the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Data on individual impacts is published separately in a companion paper (Viano 1989). Three of six tests in the high-velocity chest impact series resulted in lacerative injury of the lung, liver, diaphragm, kidney, or spleen. These injuries were associated with flail chest of the thoracic rib cage, which was defined as two fractures on four consecutive ribs or more than eight rib fractures in the thorax. In the high-velocity chest impact series, five of six specimens had flail chest with an average of 14 rib fractures. There were only two cases of severe upper abdominal injury in the high-severity impacts and they consisted of laceration of the liver and diaphragm. In these impacts, only one of four specimen experienced more than eight rib fractures. There were six high-velocity lateral impacts of the hip and, in spite of the high severity of loading, there were only two incidents of skeletal injury. The fractures involved the pubic ramus in both cases. In terms of overall injury severity, each exposure was summarized by the number of rib fractures or skeletal
Table 2. Summary biomechanics and injury for lateral thoracic impact
4.42 * 0.86 Force (kN)
Deflection VC (0) (cm)

Test Speed (q's) 6.52 f 0.32 3.10 f 0.48

1x.20 34.9 f 1.35 f 4.5

9.33 * 0.71 6.30 * 0.90

14.18 43.2 * f 1.79 3.9

2.67 * 0.99
8.40 26.1 0.82 t 1.30 * 4.1 t 0.23

Compression(X) GT1-y 9T8-y GT12-y !&E Rib Fractures (#)

1.10 t 0.18 33.8 f 8.1 26.4 i 5.1 2.8 * 0.5 2.8 t 0.6 5.2 f 1.5

14.0 * 6.0 16.5 * 6.5 12.6 f 3.5 0.4 f 0.9 0.4 f:0.9 0.4 * 0.9

2.06 i 40.1 t 62.6 t 54.6 t

0.41 a.3 20.4 25.3

4.0 * 0.6 3.8 f 0.4 12.7 A 4.5

B~omechani~ of the human chest, abdomen, and pe.lvis in lateral impact Table 3. Summary biome~hani~ and injury for 1ateraI abdominal impact T-i


4.79 f 0.77 Force (kh') Deflection(cm) Compression(1x) vc (m/s) GT1-7 QT8-7 '112-y !E: Rib Fractures (#) 2.41 * 10.83 * 32.0 f 0.77 f 6.9 i 10.8 f 11.6 t 0.49 2.30 6.6 0.23 2.0 4.4 6.2


0.48 0.76 1.a 0.12 1.9 7.1 12.4

9.40 f 0.87 6.60 f 14.80 t 46.8 f 2.22 * 37.5 t 29.1 t 44.3 f 1.10 2.38 3.1 0.41 11.0 6.9 9.0

3.71 f 11.43 t 36.2 f 1.26 t 17.6 t 26.9 f 29.8 f

0.7 t 1.2 0.7 * 1.2 0.8 f 1.6

2.0 t 1.4 2.0 f 1.4 3.3 t 3.0

2.0 t 2.3 1.8 f 2.1 3.8 t 4.6

injury, the maximum severity of skeletal trauma (SAIS), and the maximum overall severity of injury (MAIS). In all chest and abdominal impacts the responses increased as the severity of impact speed increased. The experimental protocol maximized the opportunity to define a correlation between injury and the measured response parameters but also set up the possibility that unrelated or weakly related parameters would also correlate with injury. While this maximized the possibility of defining relationships, it minimized the chance of pinpointing underlying causal biomechanics. A comparison of the chest and abdominal impacts indicates a similar level of peak force, deflection, and compression for each level of impact severity. The Viscous response was higher in the abdominal impacts probably because of less skeletal structure resisting the low-deflection response. A lack of vitality in the upper abdominal organs may have led to a lower average severity of abdominal injury than occurred in chest impacts of comparable impact severity. Internal chest injury was frequently associated with multiple rib fractures indicative of flail chest from the lateral impact. For the pelvic impacts, the force increased with the increasing severity of impact speed. In contrast, the average deflection went down between the higher severity impacts, although there was an increase in variability in the responses. This, in part, may be due to higher deflections with pubic ramus fracture and lower levels without. For pelvic impacts, the higher forces and accelerations in the highest severity impacts imply more whole-body acceleration with lower average levels of pelvic compression. The blunt lateral pelvic impacts generally resulted in no injury with these test conditions. Figures 3-5 summarize key biomechanical responses obtained for the experiments at the low-, middle-, and high-severity impact of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. The force-deflection responses define the compliance of the torso or pelvis under lateral impact and the area under each curve represents the amount of energy absorbed by body deformation. The force-time, deflection-time, and Viscous-time responses further define impact biomechanics of the human. Figure 6 is an example of the dynamic responses of other measurements made during the experiment. Impact usually involves a high, short-duration acceleration of the nearside structures causing a rapid velocity change as the tissues and loaded structure are quickly brought to a common velocity with the
Table 4. Summary biomechanics and injury for iateral petvic impact

Force (LN) Deflection(cm) Compression(a) QT8-y 'T12-7 QL3-, MAIS SAIS Pelvic Fracture

5.45 .t 1.66 4.80 f 1.60 13.6 f 4.0 7.7 f 3.1 15.0 f 12.6 34.4 * 15.0 0 0 0

6.81. f 1.60 9.88 t 1.34 26.0 f 0.3 18.6 f 3.9 23.6 f 3.6 0 :

11.20 t 1.48 7.83-i 2.27 22.9 f 6.0 31.6 f 8.6 39.9 i 26.8 0.7 r 1.0 0.7 * 1.0 0.3 * 0.6

D. C. VIANO et al.



. . ..





e-. e....
II.. I! . . . .

-_? * \



*-. ... .._.......,,..

.._. .-e&m J


m/s Fig. 3. Grouped dynamic responses for lateral thoracic impacts.



impactor. Loads are transferred through skeletal structures which have compliance and may delay the peak responses at sites distant from the point of loading. Internal tissues and organs respond to the rate and amount of body deformation. Logist analysis was applied to the biomechanical responses to identify risk functions for four or more rib fractures (MAIS 3 +) or critical injury (MAIS 4+ or 9+ rib fractures). The Viscous response had a strong correlation with serious to critical injury for chest and abdominal impact (Tables 5 and 6). Maximum chest compression was also a good correlate with serious injury, whereas none of the responses correlated with the risk of moderate skeletal injury in the lateral abdominal impacts. Pelvic compression emerged as the only correlate with pubic ramus fracture (Table 7). Although based on only two cases of injury, there is a strong correlation in contrast to acceleration responses.

Biomechanics of the human chest, abdomen, and pelvis in lateral impact






9.40 mla

Fig. 4. Grouped dynamic responses for lateral abdominal impacts.

The Viscous response emerged as an effective measure of injury risk. The Logist injury probability functions are plotted in Fig. 7 for the probability of critical injury based on the Viscous and compression response of the chest and abdomen, and compression for lateral pelvic impact. A 95% confidence interval is also given. The functions are sigmoidal, indicating three distinct regions. For low values of the response, there is a region of very low risk of injury. Similarly, for the very high values of the response, there is a flat high-risk of critical injury. In between is a region where injury risk is proportional to the associated response. The sigmoidal function is typical of a risk distribution with a biomechanical response. In addition to the underlying relationship between the biomechanical response and injury, it represents the distribution in tolerance of a population with weaker and stronger subjects.


D. C. VIANO et al.


1 0 0






...-..-.... ,(.... ..._......_..__


lz_... 1)1_ I.?? . . . . I%__.







TIME (ms)

4.03 mls

6.77 ml-a

9.65 m/s

Fig. 5. Grouped dynamic responses for lateral pelvic impacts.

Based on Logist analysis, it was possible to determine tolerance levels of the measured responses. A risk level of 25% probability of critical injury was used to establish tolerance levels for the chest and abdomen (Table 8). This probability level is consistent with previous studies of injury risk from human cadaver and animal impacts (Lau and Viano 1986, 1988; Lau et al. 1987; Viano and Lau 1988). This level of injury risk is similar to that found in current crash protection standards. For pelvic impact, the tolerance is set for 25% probability of pubic ramus fracture.

This study has shown that the Viscous response is an effective biomechanical parameter to assess injury risks in lateral impact of the chest and abdomen. The finding is consistent with previous research (Viano and Lau 1983, 1988; Lau and Viano 1986) on impact injury in frontal loading of the chest and similar research on the abdomen (Lau et al. 1987; Horsch et al. 1985). In those studies the Viscous response was found

Biomechanics of the human chest, abdomen, and pelvis in lateral impact Table 5. Logist analysis of lateral thoracic impact injuries
Logist Statistics Critsria/Ssvarity@D50 4+ Rib Fxs (MA18 3+)_ vc = 1.0 m/a c = 33.9% = 28.5 g CT8- J QT12_y = 20.4 g F =3.f%kN 58.03 109.53 3.62 4.15 3.62



21.2 21.2 7.2 10.2 5.2


0.95 0.96

3.23 0.123 0.204 1.10

0.007 0.001 0.009

0.52 0.52 0.48

%+ Bib Fxs (IUIS4+), vc = 1.55 m/s c = 39.5% = 49.5 g GT8- y CTlZ-7 = 45.2 g F = 5.4% kfi 10.02 31.22 12.95 3.66

13.7 13.5 10.2 7.8 19.9


0.785 0.252 0.031

O.ooO 0.002

0.77 0.75 0.76 O.&p 0.95

515.92 112.25


to be the causal mechanism and strongest correlate with injury. Recent experiments by Lau and Viano (1988) have shown that serious injury to soft tissues and organs occur at the time of peak Viscous response, well before maximum deflection. We expect that serious abdominal and thoracic injury from high-speed lateral impact may be similarly associated with the rapid phase of compression. Recent experiments by Viano et al. (1989~) with anesthetized swine show that lateral impact injury is associated with a Viscous mechanism. Serious internal thoracic and abdominal injury occurred with minimal skeletal damage, a finding that is consistent with tests on small animal models (Jonsson et al. 1979; Rouhana et al. 1984). The recent research with swine confirms that in a physiologic model with organ sizes and weights similar to that of man the Viscous response is an effective measure of injury risk in lateral impact. The finding is also supported by Cooper and Maynard (1986)) who found a relationship between lung injury and the Viscous response when anesthetized swine are struck in the side with a high-velocity, light-weight rubber disk.
Table 6. Logist analysis of lateral abdominal impact injuries
Logist Statistics


4+ Rib Fxs (MAIS 3+] vc = 2.01 O/8 c = 51.211 'TS- J = 28.2 g c+l2_7 = 30.1 g F = 5.10 kN 1.83 2.19 3.04 2.08 1.75 0.913 0.043 0.108 0.059 0.288 1.1 0.3 3.1 2.5 0.9 0.295 (NS) 0.687 (NS) 0.078 (HS) 0.114 (NS) 0.348 (NS) 0.00 0.00 0.25 0.18 0.00

CriticalInjury (MAIS4+l VC = 2.25 m/s c = 45.8% QTS- y = 35.0 g 'TlZ-y = 46.5 g F = 5.87 kN 8.54 15.29 7.39 7.73 63.37 3.81 0.348 0.206 0.159 7.70

4.6 3.6 4.9 8.6

0.013 0.032 0.051 (Ns) 0.027 0.004

0.50 0.48 0.36 0.53 0.75

D. C.

VIANO et al. 60 1




RUNP - T 12

6ACCEL - 18 -A-

Time (ms)







50g g ._ 5 e, a u :: 403020loo-10-20 -f 9 S ; 9 ij
bnpoel i ACCEL. em- TO Fore*

RUNIJ-Tl RUN 8 - 112 ---

-2Time (ms)


70 60 1




4QRUN 45 - T 8 RUN --rS - 1 12

Lumbar Ace. ---


-2Time (ms)

( 60 0 20 40

( 60

Time (ms)

Fig. 6a. Examples of impact force and spinai acceleration for lateral thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic impacts at 6.7 m/s.

The correlation of maximum deflection or compression with injury is consistent with relationships found in previous studies on the frontal impact of human cadavers (Kroell 1976; Viano 1978; Tarriere et al. 1988) and anesthetized swine (Viano and Warner 1976; Viano et al. 1977; Kroell et al. 1981, 1986). However, a relationship was not found between compression and injury in recent lateral chest impacts of anesthetized swine (Viano et al. 1989c). In those tests, a relationship existed between low- and middleseverity impacts but was not found between the middle- and high-severity tests. Spinal acceleration was higher between the middle- and high-severity tests as well as impact

Gomechanics of the human chest, abdomen, and pelvis in lateral impact CHEST


- O-TO m/o


lmpoct Form


RUN 16 - f 1









Time (ms)
60 e so

Time (ms)



- 9.80



hPOSl Fore* ACCEL - T e --RUNJ4-11

-10 -20

1 -2


20 lime (ms)



t 20
Time (ms)



70 60 50





1 Impact Fort*

6Lumbar Act.





lime (ms)


Time (ms)

Fig. 6b. Examples of impact force and spinal acceleration for lateral thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic impacts at 9.5-9.8 m/s.

force, resulting in more whole-body displacement of the animal. The failure of maximum compression to correlate with an increased severity of injury is further evidence that soft tissue trauma may not be related in all cases to rib fractures and the peak value of body defo~ation. However, in some circumstan~s injury may occur by a crushing load on the body, in which maximum compression would be an important factor. Although acceleration correlates with some injury in this study, it has been shown in other research to be unrelated when a range of test-types are merged. In two studies by Lau and Viano (1986, 1988), pendulum and sled tests data independently correlated


D. C. VIANO et al. Table 7. Logist analysis of lateral pelvic impact injuries

Logist Statistics Criteria/Severity Pubic Rams Fracture c = 27.4 % d = 10.3 cm CTS- y = 46.1 g %2-y ,I;; 9%y 1 * : F = 17.3 kN 84.02 3.07 16.91 1.84 6.80 3.65 3.16 3.71 0.120 0.047 0.022 0.218 11.411 3.64 1.87 0.78 0.34 0.70 0.001 0.172 0.378 0.661 0.402 (NS) (NS) (NS) (NS) 0.908 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 a P x2 P rl

0.010 (NS) 0.635

body acceleration and injury, but, when the data were merged no relationship existed between peak accelerations and injury. This situation has been shown for frontal impact and is a result of acceleration being the sum of two independent components: one associated with deflection of the body and the other with whole-body displacement. Our studies have shown that body deformation is the key factor in impact injury and that whole-body acceleration primarily brings the body to a common velocity with the impactor or sled. When a test series tightly controls the relative contribution of each component, correlation may be found between acceleration and injury. However, with tests that vary the relative contribution of each component to the overall response, correlation is generally lost. We did not attempt to measure near-side rib acceleration in these tests as the transducer could be the cause of rib fracture as found in earlier research. Thus, it was not possible to assess acceleration functions, such as TTI (Eppinger et al. 1984; Morgan et al. 1986). We reanalyzed data from the frontal impact cadaver tests by Kroell et al. (1974) and Kroell (1976) according to an identical protocol to that used in this study. Highspeed photographs of body deformation from the frontal impact tests were reanalyzed to determine external deflection. The Viscous response was computed from the deflection following our routine procedure (Lau and Viano 1986; Viano and Lau 1988). The reanalyzed data are shown in the bottom portion of Fig. 8 for direct comparison to the results of the current study. The force-deflection behavior of the human chest in lateral impact is similar to that of the chest in blunt frontal loading of equivalent severity. However, the individual and boundary responses for force-deflection show that the force plateau and initial stiffness are lower in lateral impact of the chest. This is consistent with the rib cage geometry since the ribs are flatter and less supported for a lateral loading direction. This work is part of an effort to define the global biomechanics of the human chest and abdomen. It is possible to characterize the force-deflection response by an initial stiffness, and average plateau force in the mid-deflection region. This was done for the frontal and lateral chest impacts and is plotted in Fig. 9 for an orientation from frontal (O), through 60 lateral, to 120 lateral. Solid lines connect regions where test data are available and dotted lines represent an estimate of what the full global biomechanical response may be when a complete set of responses is collected for the 6.7 m/s blunt impact condition. The orientation of impact is also shown using a skeleton to aid in the interpretation of test conditions. The force-deflection characteristics of the human chest are an important response for the development of anthropometric test devices that simulate the human response to impact and assess injury risks. Figure 10 summarizes the peak force and deflection responses from lateral impacts of human cadavers at three test speeds, as well as information from recent tests with the DOTSID and EUROSID at similar speeds (note that deflection is an internal measurement made in the dummy). Current side impact dummies develop significantly higher plateau forces and lower deflections even assuming 25 mm additional skin compression of the human cadaver and anesthetized swine. This lack of

Biomechanics of the human chest, abdomen, and pelvis in lateral impact

Fig. 7. Probability of AIS 4 I- injury as a function of the maximum Viscous and compression (deflection) response from Logist analysis of thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic impact data (the broken lines are a 95% confidence interval).

bio~delity in force-dejection response of the current side impact ATDs is a signi~~ant deficiency in their ability to simulate the human response and injury in side impact tests and assess energy management concepts. Biofidelity is important because the design of side interior padding to optimize response in the dummies will result in much stiffer materials to be compatible with the high-force levels developed by the dummies. Stiff materials may essentially eliminate the safety potential for real occupants who develop much lower forces and thus need softer materials (Rouhana et al. 1986; Viano 1987a, 1987b, 1987~). The difference in compliance between current test dummies and the human will also result in significant differences in occupant kinematics during a side impact. In particular, the greater deflection experienced by the human chest and abdomen will allow the head to move more


D. C. VIANO et al. Table 8. Tolerance levels for lateral impact

Chest (AIS


vc = 1.47 a/s 0 = 38.4% = 46.2 g %-y cTl2_y = 31.6 g F = 5.48 kN

Abdolnen (AIS 4'1 VC = 1.98 m/s c = 43.7x = 30.7 S (119) GT8-y GT12-y = 39.0 g F = 6.73 kN

Pelvis (PubicRams Fractures c = 27% D = 9.6 cm (NS) %3-y = 93.1 g (NS) F = 12.0 kN (NS)

Based on 25% Probability Injury

laterally with respect to the vehicles side interior and will result in a signi~cantly different trajectory of the head. In addition, the shoulder may be an important load path for side impact protection as side interior loading on the shoulder may reduce forces on the chest and abdomen and may limit lateral displacement of the head. Therefore, proper torso and shoulder biofidelity in a side impact dummy should be assured. Recent evaluation of normal driving (Viano et al. 1989b) indicates that a majority of drivers have their left hand on the steering wheel while passing through an intersection and fewer than 10% have their arm at their side. This indicates that direct loading on the side of the chest and abdomen should most frequently occur in multivehicle side impact crashes. These aspects are important to a systems engineering approach to improving side impact protection. Direct loading of the chest and abdomen is an important cause of injury to nearside occupants in multivehicle side impact crashes. Injuries can occur during the rapid compression phase of loading since the occupant experiences hid-velocity impact by the side interior in a severe crash. Since the population at risk in side impact crashes is signficantly older than that in frontal impacts (Viano et al 1989), the understanding of injury mechanisms and tolerances from this study should have direct application to the development of improved side interiors. In addition, the selection of appropriate side interior pads requires the use of a test device with human-like force-deflection characteristics and proper injury response measurements. This needs to be the first step in an effort to match side interior padding with human tolerances, thus improving side impact crash protection. Previous and current research on human cadavers shows that the Viscous response is the best correlate of soft tissue, internal organ, and skeletal injury risk in the chest and abdomen of elderly specimen. Use of VC offers the possibility of making realistic improvements in side impact safety. We should also underscore the point that improper use of an acceleration-based criteria may reduce or eliminate the ultimate

Biomechanics of

the humanchest. abdomen, and pelvisin iateral impact





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Fig. 8. Corridors for the force-deflection response of human cadavers impacted frontally at midsternum on the thorax [from a reanalysis of data previously published by Kroell (1976)] and for the lateral thoracic impacts of the study. Response data for the frontal thoracic impacts are shown in the lower portion of the figure.

benefits of padding in side impact crashes, and may pa~icularly place the elderly at risk of injury, when the use of proper injury criteria may lead to realistic improvements in safety (Viano 1987a, 1987b, 1987~). In terms of side impact loading of the pelvis, our experiment complements the research work conducted in Europe as part of the EUROSID development (Cesari et al. 1980; Cesari and Ramet 1982; TN0 1987). Figure 11 summarizes the data from our study and that of previous experiments using a 17.3 kg impactor with a spherical contact surface. The slightly higher force levels from our study are consistent with the flat pendulum face used in our experiments. Our trend of increasing peak force with higher

D. C.


et al.
























Fig. 9. The global impact response of the chest and abdomen is represented by the plateau force and initial stiffness of the average (and + 1 standard deviation) human response. Solid lines connect known data and broken lines represent estimates of the human responses. The photos at the bottom of the curve define the location and orientation of impact on a human skeleton.

Biomechanics of the human chest, abdomen, and peivis in lateral impact


0 a.... 001Sl0 EUROSIO






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impact speed is similar to the trend of the European study (TN0 1987). As seen in their work, the EUROSID dummy develops higher forces than the human cadaver response, particularly at the higher impact speeds. Our study does permit some observations on appropriate injury criteria to assess hip injuries in side impacts. The average fracture force for the pubic ramus was 9.78 + 0.52 kN. This value is higher than the average fracture force for pubic ramus injury from ten experiments conducted in Europe. In their study, the average fracture force was 7.15 + 2.08 kN. Those injuries occurred with a lighter impact mass at an average impact velocity of 9.98 + 1.64 m/s, which is similar to the speed of our injury experiments. A spherical impact interface may cause lower forces for similar deflections of the hip. Logist analysis of our data indicated a strong correlation of injury with compression of the pelvis. In contrast, no correlation was found with pelvic acceleration or impact force (Table 7). On the basis of this study and our previous research, we believe that the maximum Viscous response should be limited to protect against critical injury during the rapid phase of body deformation of the chest and abdomen during a side impact. As shown in previous work by Lau and Viano (1988), serious internal injury can occur without a significant number of rib fractures or rib cage injury at all. This evidence supports the potential for the early occurrence of soft tissue injury at about the time of maximum Viscous response and where deflection or compression of the body has reached only about half of its rn~irn~n value. We also believe in the need to limit max~um compression during crash testing to protect against crushing injuries that may occur by large deformations of the chest and abdomen, This is clearly a different mechanism of injury than the Viscous mechanism. Limiting the Viscous and compression response is a com-


D. C. VIANO et al.



/ /




2 s,
8 9 +j c?


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Fig. 11. Peak force as a function of impact velocity for blunt lateral impact of the pelvis. Data are shown for cadaver impacts with a spherical impact interface conducted by INRETS (TN0 1987) with average values for the fracture level of the pubic ramus and similar data from the current experiments with a blunt impact interface. Also shown are similar tests conducted on the EUROSID and DOTSID dummies.

plementary approach to assessing safety systems (Lau and Viano 1986; Viano and Lau 1988). Our data also indicate that compression of the pelvis may be a better predictor of hip fracture than pelvic acceleration or force.
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