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Computational Study of Fracture Characteristics in Infant Skulls Using a Simplified Finite Element Model

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Skull fracture characteristics are associated with loading conditions (such as the impact point and impact velocity) and could provide indication of abuse or accident‐induced head injuries. However, correlations between fracture characteristics and loading conditions in infant and toddler are ill‐understood. A simplified computational model representing an infant head was built to simulate skull responses to blunt impacts. The fractures were decided through a first principal strain‐based element elimination strategy. Simulation results were qualitatively compared with test data from porcine heads. This simplified model well captured the fracture pattern, initial fracture position, and direction of fracture propagation. The model also very well described fracture characteristics found in studies with human infant cadaveric specimens. A series of parametric studies was conducted, and results indicated that the parameters studied had substantial effects on fracture patterns. Additionally, the jagged shapes of sutures were associated with strain concentrations in the skull.
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Keywords: blunt impact; forensic science; infant skull; infant suture; numerical simulations; skull fracture characteristics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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