Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Yoganandan, Narayan

Second Advisor

Kumar, Sri

Third Advisor

Malman, Dennis J.


Biomechanical principles have been used to understand the mechanisms of load transfer to the human body under normal day-to-day physiologic activities and during traumatic events. The former loading paradigm primarily focuses on quasistatic and/or cyclic applications. Examples include loading of the human head-neck complex due to motions such as forward bending or rotation of the head in daily life. While loading of the head-neck complex occurs essentially in the static domain, repeated motions from physiologic activities induce cyclic forces. In contrast, traumatic loadings are often single cycle, or acute, in nature and are associated with the dynamic or impact domain. For example, diving injuries are associated with transfer of the contact-induced impact force to the neck via the head, resulting in a more complex (than static loading) internal load transfer to the segmented and articulated osteo-ligamentous cervical spinal column (described in [2] ). Likewise, motor vehicle crashes induce dynamic loads to the occupant: forward bending of the head-neck complex occurs in frontal impacts even in the presence of deployed airbags to lap-and shoulder-belted occupants, although headneck injuries may not always occur. Rear impacts, due to the nature of dynamic force application, induce an initial opposite kinematic response to the head-neck complex compared to frontal impacts: rearward in contrast to forward bending. Instead of airbags, the head-restraint may play a role in load transfer in rear impact biomechanics. This research focuses on the biomechanics of load transfer to the head-neck complex in the dynamic domain...



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