Regional Variation in the Structural Response and Geometrical Properties of Human Ribs


Mr. Joseph M. Cormier, Mr. Joel D. Stitzel, Dr. Stefan M. Duma, Fumio Matsuoka


49th Annual Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. 2005; 49:153-70.


By incorporating material and geometrical properties into a model of the human thorax one can develop an injury criterion that is a function of stress and strain of the material and not a function of the global response of the thorax. Previous research on the mechanical properties of ribs has focused on a limited set of specific ribs. For this study a total of 52 rib specimens were removed from four cadaver subjects. Variation in peak moment by thoracic region was significant (p < 0.01) with average values of 2, 2.9 and 3.9 N-m for the anterior, lateral and posterior regions respectively. Two geometrical properties, radius of gyration and distance from the neutral axis, showed significant variation by region (p < 0.0001) as well as by rib level (p = < 0.01, 0.05). The results of this study can be used to update current models of the human thorax to account for the variation in strength and geometrical properties throughout the rib cage. Accounting for the variation in rib properties by region will improve injury predictive measures and, therefore, the ability to design systems to prevent thoracic injury.