Viscoelastic response of the thorax under dynamic belt loading.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Three postmortem human surrogates (PMHS) were positioned and rigidly mounted through the spine to a tabletop test fixture for the purpose of characterizing thoracic response to diagonal belt loading with well-defined boundary conditions.


These PMHS were mounted to a stationary apparatus that supported the spine and shoulders in a configuration comparable to that seen in a 48 km/h automobile sled test at the time of maximum chest deformation. A belt restraint was positioned across the anterior torso with attachments at D-ring and buckle locations based on the geometry of a mid-sized sedan. The belt was attached to a trolley driven by a hydraulic ram linked to a universal test machine. Ramp and hold experiments were conducted at rates of 0.5, 0.9, and 1.2 m/s and hold times of 60 s. Ramp-hold displacement waveforms of up to 20 percent of the chest depth were applied to the chest while the resulting belt loads and spinal reaction loads were recorded. These data were used to identify parameters in a seven-parameter thoracic structural model mathematically analogous to a viscoelastic material model. A final test with 40 percent deflection was performed at the completion of the loading sequence.


Model fits to ramps of different magnitudes indicated that the assumption of temporal linearity was reasonable over the range of inputs in this study. In agreement with previous studies, the spatial (force-deflection) response was only slightly nonlinear, indicating that a fully linear model would be reasonable up to the deflection levels used here.


Pronounced variability in the instantaneous elastic behavior was observed among the three test subjects, whereas the relaxation behavior exhibited less variability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Salzar, RS; Bass, CR; Lessley, D; Crandall, JR; Kent, RW; Bolton, JR

Published Date

  • June 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 290 - 296

PubMed ID

  • 19452371

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-957X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1538-9588

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15389580902856251


  • eng