Finite element analysis of head–neck kinematics under simulated rear impact at different accelerations

E. Teo, S. Tan, Qinghang Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The information on the variation of ligament strains over time after rear impact has been seldom investigated. In the current study, a detailed three-dimensional C0–C7 finite element model of the whole head–neck complex developed previously was modified to include T1 vertebra. Rear impact of half sine-pulses with peak values of 3.5g, 5g, 6.5g and 8g respectively were applied to the inferior surface of the T1 vertebral body to validate the simulated variations of the intervertebral segmental rotations and to investigate the ligament tensions of the cervical spine under different levels of accelerations. The simulated kinematics of the head–neck complex showed relatively good agreement with the experimental data with most of the predicted peak values falling within one standard deviation of the experimental data. Under rear impact, the whole C0–T1 structure formed an S-shaped curvature with flexion at the upper levels and extension at the lower levels at early stage after impact, during which the lower cervical levels might experience hyperextensions. The predicted high resultant strain of the capsular ligaments, even at low impact acceleration compared with other ligament groups, suggests their susceptibility to injury. The peak impact acceleration has a significant effect on the potential injury of ligaments. Under higher accelerations, most ligaments will reach failure strain in a much shorter time immediately after impact.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)781-790
    Number of pages10
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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