Study of rib fracture mechanisms based on the rib strain profiles in side and forward oblique impact

Stapp Car Crash J. 2011 Nov;55:199-250.


Rib fractures constitute a good indication of severity as there are the most frequent type of AIS3+ chest injuries. In 2008, Trosseille et al. showed a promising methodology to exhibit the rib fracture mechanisms, using strain gauges glued on the ribs of Post-Mortem Human Subjects (PMHS) and developing a specific signal analysis. In 2009, they published the results of static airbag tests performed on 50th percentile male PMHS at different distances and angles (pure lateral and 30 degrees forward oblique direction). To complete these already published data, a set of 8 PMHS lateral and oblique impactor tests were performed with the same methodology. The rib cages were instrumented with more than 100 strain gauges on the ribs, cartilage and sternum. A 23.4 kg impactor was propelled at 4.3 or 6.7 m/s. The forces applied onto the PMHS at 4.3 m/s ranged from 1.6 kN to 1.9 kN and the injuries varied from 4 to 13 rib fractures. At 6.7 m/s, the forces applied onto the PMHS ranged from 2.6 kN to 4 kN and the injuries varied from 9 to 16 rib fractures. The results of 24 tests from Trosseille et al. 2008 and 2009 and from the current study were processed in the same way and analyzed together. The time and location of the fractures were determined for each test and a ribcage fracture scenario was defined for each configuration. Strain profile corridors were built for pure lateral and forward oblique impacts, in the case of a rigid impact (impactor) or for an airbag loading. They can be used to assess the human body model biofidelity and the validation of rib fracture mechanisms in these models. Based on these corridors, the effects of the severity, the impact angle and the loading system on rib strain profiles were analyzed and are presented in this paper.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Bags*
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rib Fractures / physiopathology*
  • Ribs / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Mechanical*