Development and validation of subject-specific finite element models for blunt trauma study

Weixin Shen, Yuqing Niu, Robert F. Mattrey, Adam Fournier, Jackie Corbeil, Yuko Kono, James H. Stuhmiller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This study developed and validated finite element (FE) models of swine and human thoraxes and abdomens that had subject-specific anatomies and could accurately and efficiently predict body responses to blunt impacts. Anatomies of the rib cage, torso walls, thoracic, and abdominal organs were reconstructed from X-ray computed tomography (CT) images and extracted into geometries to build FE meshes. The rib cage was modeled as an inhomogeneous beam structure with geometry and bone material parameters determined directly from CT images. Meshes of soft components were generated by mapping structured mesh templates representative of organ topologies onto the geometries. The swine models were developed from and validated by 30 animal tests in which blunt insults were applied to swine subjects and CT images, chest wall motions, lung pressures, and pathological data were acquired. A comparison of the FE calculations of animal responses and experimental measurements showed a good agreement. The errors in calculated response time traces were within 10% for most tests. Calculated peak responses showed strong correlations with the experimental values. The stress concentration inside the ribs, lungs, and livers produced by FE simulations also compared favorably to the injury locations. A human FE model was developed from CT images from the Visible Human project and was scaled to simulate historical frontal and side post mortem human subject (PMHS) impact tests. The calculated chest deformation also showed a good agreement with the measurements. The models developed in this study can be of great value for studying blunt thoracic and abdominal trauma and for designing injury pre vention techniques, equipments, and devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021022
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Abdomen
  • Blunt trauma
  • Computed tomography
  • Finite element
  • Human
  • Liver injury
  • Lung injury
  • Rib fracture
  • Swine
  • Thorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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