Neck injuries in car collisions--a review covering a possible injury mechanism and the development of a new rear-impact dummy
Journal article, 2000
A review of a few Swedish research projects on soft tissue neck injuries in car collisions is presented together with some new results. Efforts to determine neck injury mechanisms was based on a hypothesis stating that injuries to the nerve root region in the cervical spine are a result of transient pressure gradients in the spinal canal during rapid neck bending. In experimental neck trauma research on animals, pressure gradients were observed and indications of nerve cell membrane dysfunction were found in the cervical spinal ganglia. The experiments covered neck extension, flexion and lateral bending. A theoretical model in which fluid flow was predicted to cause the transient pressure gradients was developed and a neck injury criterion based on Navier-Stokes Equations was applied on the flow model. The theory behind the Neck Injury Criterion indicates that the neck injury occurs early on in the rearward motion of the head relative to the torso in a rear-end collision. Thus the relative horizontal acceleration and velocity between the head and the torso should be restricted during the early head-neck motion to avoid neck injury. A Bio-fidelic Rear Impact Dummy (BioRID) was developed in several steps and validated against volunteer test results. The new dummy was partly based on the Hybrid III dummy. It had a new articulated spine with curvature and range of motion resembling that of a human being. A new crash dummy and a neck injury criterion will be very important components in a future rear-impact crash test procedure.