Shock Waves

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 63–83 | Cite as

The measurement of intracranial pressure and brain displacement due to short-duration dynamic overpressure loading

  • A. S. IwaskiwEmail author
  • K. A. Ott
  • R. S. Armiger
  • A. C. Wickwire
  • V. D. Alphonse
  • L. M. Voo
  • C. M. Carneal
  • A. C. Merkle
Original Article


The experimental measurement of biomechanical responses that correlate with blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) has proven challenging. These data are critical for both the development and validation of computational and physical head models, which are used to quantify the biomechanical response to blast as well as to assess fidelity of injury mitigation strategies, such as personal protective equipment. Therefore, foundational postmortem human surrogate (PMHS) experimental data capturing the biomechanical response are necessary for human model development. Prior studies have measured short-duration pressure transmission to the brain (Kinetic phase), but have failed to reproduce and measure the longer-duration inertial loading that can occur (Kinematic phase). Four fully instrumented PMHS were subjected to short-duration dynamic overpressure in front-facing and rear-facing orientations, where intracranial pressure (ICP), global head kinematics, and brain motion (as measured by high-speed X-ray) with respect to the skull were recorded. Peak ICP results generally increased with increased dose, and a mirrored pressure response was seen when comparing the polarity of frontal bone versus occipital bone ICP sensors. The head kinematics were delayed when compared to the pressure response and showed higher peak angles for front-facing tests as compared to rear-facing. Brain displacements were approximately 2–6 mm, and magnitudes did not change appreciably between front- and rear-facing tests. These data will be used to inform and validate models used to assess bTBI.


Postmortem human surrogate Blast-induced traumatic brain injury Brain motion Intracranial pressure Short-duration dynamic overpressure Dynamic overpressure-induced kinematics Shock tube 



This effort was funded by, and in accordance with, the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Office of Research Protections, contract # W81XWH-09-2-0168. The US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, 820 Chandler Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5014 is the awarding and administering acquisition office. The content included in this work does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the US government. The authors would like to acknowledge Howard Conner for fabrication support, Brock Wester for testing support, and Joan Murphy and Jill Koehler for editorial contributions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. S. Iwaskiw
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. A. Ott
    • 1
  • R. S. Armiger
    • 1
  • A. C. Wickwire
    • 1
  • V. D. Alphonse
    • 1
  • L. M. Voo
    • 1
  • C. M. Carneal
    • 1
  • A. C. Merkle
    • 1
  1. 1.The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics LaboratoryLaurelUSA

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