Muscle tetanus and loading condition effects on the elastic and viscous characteristics of the thorax.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Thoracic deformation under an applied load is an established indicator of injury risk, but the force required to achieve an injurious level of deformation currently is not understood adequately. This article evaluates how two potentially important factors, loading condition and muscle tensing, affect the structural response of the dynamically loaded thorax. Structural models of two human cadaver thoraxes and two porcine thoraxes were used to quantify the effects. The human cadavers, which represent anthropometric extremes, were subjected to anterior loading from (1) a 5.1-cm-wide belt oriented diagonally (i.e., seatbelt-like loading), (2) a 15.2-cm-diameter rigid hub, and (3) a 20.3-cm-wide belt oriented laterally (i.e., a distributed load). A structural model having the mathematical formulation of a quasilinear viscoelastic material model was used to model the elastic and viscous response, with ramp-hold tests used to determine the model coefficients. The effect of thoracic musculature was assessed using similar ramp-hold tests on the porcine subjects, each with and without forced muscle contraction. Even maximally contracted thoracic musculature is shown to have a minimal effect on the response, with similar elastic and viscous characteristics exhibited by each subject regardless of muscle tone. The elastic response is shown to be approximately a factor of three stiffer for diagonal belt loading and for this distributed loading condition than for the hub loading, indicating that the response is influenced most by the particular anatomical structures that are engaged and, secondarily, by the area of load application. Specifically, shoulder involvement is shown to have a strong influence. The force relaxation is found to be pronounced, but insensitive to the loading condition, with long-time force relaxation coefficients (G( infinity )) in the range of 0.1 to 0.3. The findings of this study provide restraint-specific guidelines for the force-deflection characteristics of both physical and computational thoracic models.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kent, R; Bass, CR; Woods, W; Sherwood, C; Madeley, NJ; Salzar, R; Kitagawa, Y

Published Date

  • December 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 297 - 314

PubMed ID

  • 14630579

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-957X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1538-9588

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/714040488


  • eng