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J Biomech Eng. 2009 May;131(5):051001. doi: 10.1115/1.3078151.

Dynamic tensile failure mechanics of the musculoskeletal neck using a cadaver model.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Applied Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Washington, 501 Eastlake Avenue E, Suite 102, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Although the catapult phase of pilot ejections has been well characterized in terms of human response to compressive forces, the effect of the forces on the human body during the ensuing ejection phases (including windblast and parachute opening shock) has not been thoroughly investigated. Both windblast and parachute opening shock have been shown to induce dynamic tensile forces in the human cervical spine. However, the human tolerance to such loading is not well known. Therefore, the main objective of this research project was to measure human tensile neck failure mechanics to provide data for computational modeling, anthropometric test device development, and improved tensile injury criteria. Twelve human cadaver specimens, including four females and eight males with a mean age of 50.1+/-9 years, were subjected to dynamic tensile loading through the musculoskeletal neck until failure occurred. Failure load, failure strain, and tensile stiffness were measured and correlated with injury type and location. The mean failure load for the 12 specimens was 3100+/-645 N, mean failure strain was 16.7+/-5.4%, and mean tensile stiffness was 172+/-54.5 N/mm. The majority of injuries (8) occurred in the upper cervical spine (Oc-C3), and none took place in the midcervical region (C3-C5). The results of this study assist in filling the existing void in dynamic tensile injury data and will aid in developing improved neck injury prevention strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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