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J Biomech. 1988;21(5):387-99.

A viscous tolerance criterion for soft tissue injury assessment.

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Biomedical Science Department, General Motors Research Laboratories, Warren, MI 48090-9055.


Experiments in our laboratory have documented that high-speed impact can cause severe injury to internal organs before either of the currently accepted chest injury criteria, which are based on spinal acceleration or chest compression, approach their tolerance limit. Those studies demonstrate an interdependence between the velocity of deformation and compression of the body on injury risk. A tolerable level of chest compression at a low velocity can prove to be fatal at higher velocities of deformation. The observation of a rate-sensitive tolerable compression led to the introduction of the Viscous criterion, VCmax, which accounts for the importance of both parameters. VCmax is the maximum of the product of velocity of deformation (V) and compression (C), and is derivable from the chest deflection response. This paper presents the empirical evidence and theoretical basis supporting the Viscous criterion, and shows it to be an indicator of the energy dissipated by soft tissue deformation. The Viscous criterion accurately predicts the risk of vital organ and soft tissue injury when other criteria fail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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