Current neck injury criteria used to evaluate whiplash injuries are based on the kinematics or kinetics of the occupant’s head and neck during rear impacts. The occupant’s response is affected by many factors including impact severity, seat design and occupant related factors such as gender and posture. Most of the current finite element models are concerned with modeling the head and neck, ignoring the interaction of the seat with the occupant during rear collision. In this work the Global Human Body Model Consortium (GHBMC) finite element model was used to study these interaction effects with emphases on the effect of seat belt, headrest and seat stiffness on the occupant’s response during rear-end collisions and evaluate the response using three neck injury criteria. The study shows the dramatic importance of the occupant’s seat restraint and head rest upon occupant safety. Specifically, the occupant ramping during rear impacts can be prevented by using the seat belt. Furthermore, the headrest reduces the head displacement and rotation. Our work further reveals that the head displacement reduction can lead to higher moments, axial and shear forces at the neck, especially for cases involving poorly adjusted or stiffer headrest.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Barnsley, L., Lord, S., Bogduk, N.: Clinical review whiplash injury. Pain 58, 283–307 (1994)
Bostrom, O., Svensson, M., Aldman, B., Hansson, H.A., Haland, Y., Lovsund, P., Seeman, T., Suneson, A., Saljo, A., Ortengren, T.: A new neck injury criterion candidate based on injury findings in the cervical spinal ganglia after experimental neck extension trauma. In: Proceedings of the 1996 international IRCOBI conference biomechanics impact (1996)
Cronin, D.S.: Finite element modeling of potential cervical spine pain sources in neutral position low speed rear impact. J. Mech. Behav. Biomed. Mater. 33, 55–66 (2014). doi:10.1016/j.jmbbm.2013.01.006
Davidsson, J., Deutscher, C., Hell, W., Svensson, M.Y.: Human volunteer kinematics in rear-end sled collisions human volunteer kinematics in rear-end sled collisions. J. Crash Prev. Inj. Control 2, 319–333 (2001). doi:10.1080/10286580008902576
De Jager, M.K.: Mathematical head-neck models for acceleration impacts. Technical University of Eindhoven (1996)
Eppinger, R., Sun, E., Bandak, F., Haffner, M., Khaewpong, N., Maltese, M., Kuppa, S., Nguyen, T., Takhounts, E., Tannous, R., Zhang, A., Saul, R.: Development of improved injury criteria for the assessment of advanced automotive restraint systems—II. Natl. Highw. Traffic Saf. Adm. Dep. Transp, DC (1999)
Farmer, C.M., Wells, J.K., Lund, A.K.: Effects of head restraint and seat redesign on neck injury risk in rear-end crashes. Traffic Inj. Prev. 4, 83–90 (2003). doi:10.1080/15389580309867
Fice, J.B., Cronin, D.S., Panzer, M.B.: Cervical spine model to predict capsular ligament response in rear impact. Ann. Biomed. Eng. 39, 2152–2162 (2011). doi:10.1007/s10439-011-0315-4
Foster, J., Kortge, J., Wolanin, M.: Hybrid III-a biomechanically-based crash test dummy. SAE Tech. Pap. 770938, 1977 (1977). doi:10.4271/770938
Grauer, J.N., Panjabi, M.M., Cholewicki, J., Nibu, K., Dvorak, J.: Whiplash produces and S-shaped curvature of the neck with hyperextension at lower levels. Spine (Phila. Pa. 1976) 22, 2489–2494 (1997)
Grujicic, M., Pandurangan, B., Arakere, G., Bell, W.C., He, T., Xie, X.: Seat-cushion and soft-tissue material modeling and a finite element investigation of the seating comfort for passenger–vehicle occupants. Mater. Des. 30, 4273–4285 (2009). doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2009.04.028
Hai-bin, C., Yang, K.H., Zheng-guo, W.: Biomechanics of whiplash injury. Chin. J. Traumatol. 12, 305–314 (2009). doi:10.3760/cma.j.issn.1008-1275.2009.05.011
Himmetoglu, S., Acar, M., Bouazza-Marouf, K., Taylor, A.: A multi-body human model for rear-impact simulation. Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. Part D J. Automob. Eng. 223, 623–638 (2009). doi:10.1243/09544070JAUTO985
Hoover, J., Meguid, S.A.: Analytical viscoelastic modelling of whiplash using lumped- parameter approach. Int. J. Mech. Mater. Des. 11, 125–137 (2015). doi:10.1007/s10999-015-9306-1
IIHS: Vehicle Seat/Head Restraint Evaluation Protocol Static Geometric Criteria (Version IV) February 2016. Ruckersville, VA (2016)
Kuppa, S., Saunders, J., Stammen, J., Mallory, A.: Kinematically based whiplash injury criterion. US. (2005). doi:10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004
Luan, F., Yang, K.H., Deng, B., Begeman, P.C., Tashman, S., King, A.I.: Qualitative analysis of neck kinematics during low-speed rear-end impact. Clin. Biomech. 15, 649–657 (2000)
McKenzie, J.A., Williams, J.F.: The Dynamic Behaviour of the Head and Cervical Spine During “Whiplash”. J. Biomech. 4, 477–490 (1971)
Meyer, F., Bourdet, N., Deck, C., Willinger, R., Raul, J.S.: Human neck finite element model development and validation against original experimental data. Stapp Car Crash J. 48, 177–206 (2004)
NHTSA. Traffic Safety Facts 2014—A compilation of motor vehicle crash data from the fatality analysis reporting system and the general estimates system. Washington, DC (2014)
Prasad, P., Kim, A., Weerappuli, D.P.V.: Biofidelity of anthropomorphic test devices for rear impact. In: 41st Stapp Car Crash Conference, Society of Automotive Engineers, pp. 387–415. Warrendale, PA (1997)
Schmitt, K., Muser, M.H., Walz, F.H., Niederer, P.F., Muser, M.H., Walz, F.H., Niederer, P.F., Schmitt, K., Muser, M.H., Walz, F.H.: N km–a proposal for a neck protection criterion for low-speed rear-end impacts. Traffic Inj. Prev. 3, 117–126 (2002). doi:10.1080/15389580212002
Schmitt, K.-U., Walz, F., Vetter, D., Muser, M.: Whiplash injury: cases with a long period of sick leave need biomechanical assessment. Eur. Spine J. 12, 247–254 (2003). doi:10.1007/s00586-002-0490-y
Siegmund, G.P., Brault, J.R., Wheeler, J.B.: The relationship between clinical and kinematic responses from human subject testing in rear-end automobile collisions. Accid. Anal. Prev. 32, 207–217 (2000)
Siegmund, G.P., Winkelstein, B.A., Ivancic, P.C., Svensson, M.Y., Vasavada, A.: The anatomy and biomechanics of acute and chronic whiplash injury. Traffic Inj. Prev. 10, 101–112 (2009). doi:10.1080/15389580802593269
Stemper, B.D., Yoganandan, N., Rao, R.D., Pintar, F.A.: Influence of thoracic ramping on whiplash kinematics. Clin. Biomech. 20, 1019–1028 (2005). doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2005.06.011
Tencer, A.F., Huber, P., Mirza, S.K.: A comparison of biomechanical mechanisms of whiplash injury from rear impacts. In: 47th Annual Proceedings Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Lisbon, Portugal (2003)
van der Horst, M.J.: Human head neck response in frontal, lateral and rear end impact loading—modelling and validation. Thesis, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (2002). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.6100/IR554047
Viano, D.C., Gargan, M.F.: headrest position during normal driving: implication to neck injury risk in rear crashes. Accid. Anal. Prev. 28, 665–674 (1996)
Zhang, L., Meng, Q.: Study on cervical spine stresses based on three-dimensional finite element method. In: 2010 International Conference on Computational Information Sciences, pp. 420–423. doi:10.1109/ICCIS.2010.109
This paper was made possible by NPRP grant #6 - 292 - 2 - 127 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation). The statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors. The authors also wish to acknowledge the Global Human Body Model Consortium (exclusively distributed by Elemance LLC Winston Salem, NC, USA) for using the 50th percentile seated male FE model. Finally, the authors wish to thank Dr. Stewart McLachlin for his help obtaining the GHBMC FE model.
About this article
Cite this article
Hassan, M.T.Z., Meguid, S.A. Effect of seat belt and head restraint on occupant’s response during rear-end collision. Int J Mech Mater Des 14, 231–242 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10999-017-9373-6
- Finite element
- Seat belt