A finite element model of the lower limb for simulating automotive impacts

Ann Biomed Eng. 2013 Mar;41(3):513-26. doi: 10.1007/s10439-012-0687-0. Epub 2012 Nov 21.


A finite element (FE) model of a vehicle occupant's lower limb was developed in this study to improve understanding of injury mechanisms during traffic crashes. The reconstructed geometry of a male volunteer close to the anthropometry of a 50th percentile male was meshed using mostly hexahedral and quadrilateral elements to enhance the computational efficiency of the model. The material and structural properties were selected based on a synthesis of current knowledge of the constitutive models for each tissue. The models of the femur, tibia, and leg were validated against Post-Mortem Human Surrogate (PMHS) data in various loading conditions which generates the bone fractures observed in traffic accidents. The model was then used to investigate the tolerances of femur and tibia under axial compression and bending. It was shown that the bending moment induced by the axial force reduced the bone tolerance significantly more under posterior-anterior (PA) loading than under anterior-posterior (AP) loading. It is believed that the current lower limb models could be used in defining advanced injury criteria of the lower limb and in various applications as an alternative to physical testing, which may require complex setups and high cost.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Algorithms
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Compressive Strength
  • Computer Simulation
  • Femur / injuries
  • Femur / pathology
  • Femur / physiopathology
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Leg / pathology
  • Leg / physiopathology
  • Leg Injuries / etiology*
  • Leg Injuries / pathology
  • Leg Injuries / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Biological*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tibia / injuries
  • Tibia / pathology
  • Tibia / physiopathology