Computational study of human head response to primary blast waves of five levels from three directions

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Abstract

Human exposure to blast waves without any fragment impacts can still result in primary blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI). To investigate the mechanical response of human brain to primary blast waves and to identify the injury mechanisms of bTBI, a three-dimensional finite element head model consisting of the scalp, skull, cerebrospinal fluid, nasal cavity, and brain was developed from the imaging data set of a human female. The finite element head model was partially validated and was subjected to the blast waves of five blast intensities from the anterior, right lateral, and posterior directions at a stand-off distance of one meter from the detonation center. Simulation results show that the blast wave directly transmits into the head and causes a pressure wave propagating through the brain tissue. Intracranial pressure (ICP) is predicted to have the highest magnitude from a posterior blast wave in comparison with a blast wave from any of the other two directions with same blast intensity. The brain model predicts higher positive pressure at the site proximal to blast wave than that at the distal site. The intracranial pressure wave invariably travels into the posterior fossa and vertebral column, causing high pressures in these regions. The severities of cerebral contusions at different cerebral locations are estimated using an ICP based injury criterion. Von Mises stress prevails in the cortex with a much higher magnitude than in the internal parenchyma. According to an axonal injury criterion based on von Mises stress, axonal injury is not predicted to be a cause of primary brain injury from blasts. Copyright:

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Wang, C., Pahk, J. B., Balaban, C. D., Miller, M. C., Wood, A. R., & Vipperman, J. S. (2014). Computational study of human head response to primary blast waves of five levels from three directions. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113264

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