A finite element model of a six-year-old child for simulating pedestrian accidents

Accid Anal Prev. 2017 Jan;98:206-213. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2016.10.002. Epub 2016 Oct 17.


Child pedestrian protection deserves more attention in vehicle safety design since they are the most vulnerable road users who face the highest mortality rate. Pediatric Finite Element (FE) models could be used to simulate and understand the pedestrian injury mechanisms during crashes in order to mitigate them. Thus, the objective of the study was to develop a computationally efficient (simplified) six-year-old (6YO-PS) pedestrian FE model and validate it based on the latest published pediatric data. The 6YO-PS FE model was developed by morphing the existing GHBMC adult pedestrian model. Retrospective scan data were used to locally adjust the geometry as needed for accuracy. Component test simulations focused only the lower extremities and pelvis, which are the first body regions impacted during pedestrian accidents. Three-point bending test simulations were performed on the femur and tibia with adult material properties and then updated using child material properties. Pelvis impact and knee bending tests were also simulated. Finally, a series of pediatric Car-to-Pedestrian Collision (CPC) were simulated with pre-impact velocities ranging from 20km/h up to 60km/h. The bone models assigned pediatric material properties showed lower stiffness and a good match in terms of fracture force to the test data (less than 6% error). The pelvis impact force predicted by the child model showed a similar trend with test data. The whole pedestrian model was stable during CPC simulations and predicted common pedestrian injuries. Overall, the 6YO-PS FE model developed in this study showed good biofidelity at component level (lower extremity and pelvis) and stability in CPC simulations. While more validations would improve it, the current model could be used to investigate the lower limb injury mechanisms and in the prediction of the impact parameters as specified in regulatory testing protocols.

Keywords: Child pedestrian model; Finite element modelling; Impact biomechanics; Pedestrian protection.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Child
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Fractures, Bone*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pedestrians*
  • Retrospective Studies