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Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2016;19(5):527-37. doi: 10.1080/10255842.2015.1043905. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

Numerical investigations of rib fracture failure models in different dynamic loading conditions.

Wang F1,2,3, Yang J2,4, Miller K3,5, Li G2,6, Joldes GR3, Doyle B3,7, Wittek A3.

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a School of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering, Xiamen University of Technology , Xiamen 361024 , China.
b State Key Laboratory of Advanced Design and Manufacturing for Vehicle Body, Research Centre of Vehicle Traffic Safety, Hunan University , Changsha 410082 , China.
c Intelligent Systems for Medicine Laboratory, School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering, The University of Western Australia , Crawley-Perth 6009 , Australia.
d Department of Applied Mechanics, Chalmers University of Technology , Gothenburg 41296 , Sweden.
e Institute of Mechanics and Advanced Materials, Cardiff School of Engineering, Cardiff University , Wales , UK.
f Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Trinity College Dublin , Dublin , Ireland.
g Centre for Cardiovascular Science, The University of Edinburgh , Edinburgh , UK.


Rib fracture is one of the most common thoracic injuries in vehicle traffic accidents that can result in fatalities associated with seriously injured internal organs. A failure model is critical when modelling rib fracture to predict such injuries. Different rib failure models have been proposed in prediction of thorax injuries. However, the biofidelity of the fracture failure models when varying the loading conditions and the effects of a rib fracture failure model on prediction of thoracic injuries have been studied only to a limited extent. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effects of three rib failure models on prediction of thoracic injuries using a previously validated finite element model of the human thorax. The performance and biofidelity of each rib failure model were first evaluated by modelling rib responses to different loading conditions in two experimental configurations: (1) the three-point bending on the specimen taken from rib and (2) the anterior-posterior dynamic loading to an entire bony part of the rib. Furthermore, the simulation of the rib failure behaviour in the frontal impact to an entire thorax was conducted at varying velocities and the effects of the failure models were analysed with respect to the severity of rib cage damages. Simulation results demonstrated that the responses of the thorax model are similar to the general trends of the rib fracture responses reported in the experimental literature. However, they also indicated that the accuracy of the rib fracture prediction using a given failure model varies for different loading conditions.


dynamic loading; failure model; finite element model; rib fracture; thorax

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