Development and Validation of a Child Finite Element Model for Use in Pedestrian Accident Simulations

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Virginia Tech

Car collisions are the third leading cause of unintentional death and injury among children aged 5 to 14. The pedestrian lower-extremity represents the most frequently injured body region in car-to-pedestrian accidents. Several sub-system tests (head, upper and lower legs) were developed for pedestrian protection in Asia and Europe. However, with exception of a child headform impact test, all other subsystem tests are designed for prediction of adult pedestrian injuries. Due to differences in impact location and material properties, existing subsystem tests and dummies designed for adult pedestrian cannot be used for child pedestrian protection by simple scaling. Thus, the development of a computational child pedestrian model could be a better alternative that characterizes the whole-body response of vehicle-pedestrian interactions and assesses the pedestrian injuries.

Although several computational models for child pedestrian were developed in MADYMO/LS-DYNA, each has limitations. Children differ structurally from adults in several ways, which are critical to addressing before studying pediatric pedestrian protection. To aid in the development of accurate pediatric models, child pedestrian lower-extremity data presented in literature were first summarized. This review includes common pedestrian injuries, anatomy, anthropometry, structural and mechanical properties.

A Finite Element (FE) model corresponding to a six-year-old child pedestrian (GHBMC 6YO-PS) was developed in LS-DYNA. The model was obtained by linear scaling an existing adult model corresponding to 5th percentile female anthropometry to an average six-year-old child's overall anthropometry taken from literature, and then by morphing to the final target geometry. Initially, the material properties of an adult model were assigned to the child model, and then were updated based on pediatric data during the model validation. Since the lower extremity injuries are the most common injuries in pedestrian accidents, the model validation focus on the pelvis and lower extremity regions. Three-point bending test simulations were performed on the femur and tibia and the results were compared to Post-Mortem Human Subject (PMHS) data. The knee model was also simulated under valgus bending, the primary injury mechanism of the knee under lateral loading. Then, the whole pedestrian model was simulated in lateral impact simulation and its response was compared to PMHS data. Finally, the stability of the child model was tested in a series of pediatric Car-to-Pedestrian Collision (CPC) with pre-impact velocities ranging from 20 km/h up to 60 km/h. Overall, the lower extremity and pelvis models showed biofidelity against PMHS data in component simulations. The stiffness and fracture FE responses showed a good match to PMHS data reported in the literature. The knee model predicted common ligament injuries observed in PMHS tests and a lower bending stiffness than adult data. The pelvis impact force predicted by the child model showed a similar trend with PMHS test data as well. The whole pedestrian model was stable during CPC simulations. In addition, the most common injuries observed in pedestrian accidents including fractures of lower limb bones and ruptures of knee ligaments were predicted by the model. The child model was accepted to be used according to Euro-NCAP protocol, so it will be used by safety researchers in the design of front ends of new vehicles in order to increase pedestrian protection of children.

Finite element modeling, Child pedestrian modeling, Impact biomechanics