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Rib Cage Strain Pattern as a Function of Chest Loading Configuration
Published November 03, 2008 by The Stapp Association in United States
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Rib fractures are the most frequent types of AIS3+ chest injuries and constitute a good indication of severity. However, the behavior of the rib cage is not well documented, and though chest external measurements are often provided in the literature, the strains of the ribs themselves during a crash remain unknown.
In order to address this issue, a test protocol was developed, where the ribs of 8 PMHS were equipped with up to 96 strain gauges. In a first series of 3 tests, the subjects were seated upright and their chests were loaded by a 23.4 kg impactor propelled at 4.3 m/s in 0° (pure frontal), 60° (oblique) and 90° (pure lateral) directions. In a second series of 3 tests, the subjects were loaded by the deployment of an unfolded airbag in the same 3 directions. Finally, a third series of 2 tests was performed with airbags at different distances from the subjects, in a pure lateral direction.
This paper presents the results of the tests and an analysis of the strain patterns. The differences between a pure frontal, a pure lateral and an oblique loading are explored. The airbag loading is compared to impactor loading and the severity effect is described. Finally, the time and location of the rib fractures are analyzed as a function of the test configuration.