Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

John M. Cavanaugh


In recent wars, the use of improvised explosive devices and landmines has dramatically increased as a tactical measure to counter armored vehicles. These weapons not only deform and damage the vehicle structure but also produce serious vertical deceleration injuries to mounted occupants. The reported injury patterns largely differ from those in an automotive crash and are often more severe than those in other vertical loading scenarios such as pilot seat ejection, helicopter crash, parachute landing and fall from height. High kinetic energy predominately along the principal vertical (Z-axis) over a short duration makes the underbody blast (UBB) loading conditions unique compared to other vertical and blunt impacts. With the lack of biomechanical response corridors (BRCs), the non-biofidelic nature of the automotive dummies to Z-axis loading and the lack of a finite element dummy model designed for vertical loading make it difficult to evaluate occupant response and develop mitigation strategies for UBB impact conditions.

An introduction to the development of the BRCs this study provides a detailed methodology to perform whole body cadaver testing under a laboratory setup. Two whole body PMHS UBB impact tests were conducted using a sled system. An overview of pre-impact parameters such as bone mineral density, instrumentation technique, and vertical impulse generation is presented. Post-test CT scans, response data, and possible injury mechanisms were investigated.

In addition, to PMHS testing, the responses of the Hybrid III dummy to short-duration large magnitude vertical acceleration in a laboratory setup were analyzed. Two unique test conditions were investigated using a horizontal sled system to simulate the UBB loading conditions. The biomechanical response in terms of the pelvis acceleration, chest acceleration, lumbar spine force, head accelerations and neck forces were measured during the tests.

Subsequently, a series of finite element analyses (FEA) were performed to simulate the physical tests. The material parameters of various components as well as the mesh size were updated based on the high strain rate loading conditions obtained from Zhu (2015) study. The correlation between the Hybrid III test and numerical model was evaluated using the CORA version 3.6.1. The Cora score for WSU FE model was determined to be 0.878 and 0.790 for loading conditions 1 and 2, respectively, in which 1.0 indicated a perfect correlation between the experiment and simulation response. The original LSTC model simulated under the current loading condition became numerically unstable after 12 ms. With repetitive vertical impacts, the Hybrid III dummy pelvis showed a significant increase in the peak acceleration accompanied by rupture of the pelvis foam and flesh. The revised WSU Hybrid III model indicated high stress concentrations at the same location where the pelvis foam and flesh in the actual ATD showed rupture. The stress contour under the ischial tuberosities in the finite element model provides a possible explanation for the material failure in the actual Hybrid III tests.

Included in

Biomechanics Commons