Human Head and Neck Kinematics after Low Velocity Rear-End Impacts: Understanding Whiplash


Dr. Whitman E. McConnell, Dr. Richard P. Howard, Mr. Jon Van Poppel, Mr. Robin Krause, Mr. Herb M. Guzman, Dr. John B. Bomar


Proceedings of the 39th Stapp Car Crash Conference (P-299), San Diego, CA, November 8-10, 1995. Warrendale, PA, Society of Automotive Engineers. 1995; 215-238. SAE Paper #952724.


A second series of low-speed rear-end crash tests with seven volunteer test subjects have delineated human head/neck dynamics for velocity changes up to 10.9 kph (6.8 mph).  Angular and linear sensor data from biteblock arrays were used to compute acceleration resultants for multiple points on the head’s sagittal plane.  By combining these acceleration fields with film-based instantaneous rotation centers, translational and rotational accelerations were defined to form a sequential acceleration history for points on the head.  Our findings suggest a mechanism to explained why cervical motion beyond the test subjects’ measured voluntary range of motion was never observed in any of a total of 28 human test exposures.  Probable “whiplash” injury mechanisms are discussed.

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