Skull thickness calculation using thermal analysis and finite elements

Mucahit Calisan, Muhammed Fatih Talu, Danil Yurievich Pimenov, Khaled Giasin

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In this study, the skull bone thicknesses of 150 patients ranging in age from 0 to 72 years were calculated using a novel approach (thermal analysis), and thickness changes were analyzed. Unlike conventional thickness calculation approaches (Beam Propagation, Hildebrand), a novel heat transfer-based approach was developed. Firstly, solid 3D objects with different thicknesses were modeled, and thermal analyses were performed on these models. To better understand the heat transfer of 3D object models, finite element models (FEM) of the human head have been reported in the literature. The FEM can more accurately model the complex geometry of a 3D human head model. Then, thermal analysis was performed on human skulls using the same methods. Thus, the skull bone thicknesses at different ages and in different genders from region to region were determined. The skull model was transferred to ANSYS, and it was meshed using different mapping parameters. The heat transfer results were determined by applying different heat values to the inner and outer surfaces of the skull mesh structure. Thus, the average thicknesses of skull regions belonging to a certain age group were obtained. With this developed method, it was observed that the temperature value applied to the skull was proportional to the thickness value. The average thickness of skull bones for men (frontal: 7.8 mm; parietal: 9.6 mm; occipital: 10.1 mm; temporal: 6 mm) and women (frontal: 8.6 mm; parietal: 10.1 mm; occipital: 10 mm; temporal: 6 mm) are given. The difference (10%) between men and women appears to be statistically significant only for frontal bone thickness. Thanks to the developed method, bone thickness information at any desired point on the skull can be obtained numerically. Therefore, the proposed method can be used to help pre-operative planning of surgical procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10483
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2021


  • skull thickness
  • thermal image analysis
  • finite element


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