An experimental study is undertaken to examine the dynamic stress-strain characteristics of ligaments from the human cervical spine (neck). Tests were conducted using a tensile split Hopkinson bar device and the engineering strain rates imposed were of the order of 102 ∼ 103/s. As ligaments are extremely soft and pliable, specialized test protocols applicable to Hopkinson bar testing were developed to facilitate acquisition of reliable and accurate data. Seven primary ligaments types from the cervical spines of three male cadavers were subjected to mechanical tests. These yielded dynamic stress-strain curves which could be approximated by empirical equations. The dynamic failure stress/load, failure stain/deformation, modulus/stiffness, as well as energy absorption capacity, were obtained for the various ligaments and classified according to their location, the strain rate imposed and the cadaveric source. Compared with static responses, the overall average dynamic stress-strain behavior foreach type of ligament exhibited an elevation in strength but reduced elongation. © Society for Experimental Mechanics 2006.
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