Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 487–511 | Cite as

Modeling Human Volunteers in Multidirectional, Uni-axial Sled Tests Using a Finite Element Human Body Model

  • James P. Gaewsky
  • Derek A. Jones
  • Xin Ye
  • Bharath Koya
  • Kyle P. McNamara
  • F. Scott Gayzik
  • Ashley A. Weaver
  • Jacob B. Putnam
  • Jeffrey T. Somers
  • Joel D. StitzelEmail author


A goal of the Human Research Program at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to analyze and mitigate the risk of occupant injury due to dynamic loads. Experimental tests of human subjects and biofidelic anthropomorphic test devices provide valuable kinematic and kinetic data related to injury risk exposure. However, these experiments are expensive and time consuming compared to computational simulations of similar impact events. This study aimed to simulate human volunteer biodynamic response to unidirectional accelerative loading. Data from seven experimental studies involving 212 volunteer tests performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory were used to reconstruct 13 unique loading conditions across four different loading directions using finite element human body model (HBM) simulations. Acceleration pulses and boundary conditions from the experimental tests were applied to the Global Human Body Models Consortium (GHBMC) simplified 50th percentile male occupant (M50-OS) using the LS-Dyna finite element solver. Head acceleration, chest acceleration, and seat belt force traces were compared between the experimental and matched simulation signals using correlation and analysis (CORA) software and averaged into a comprehensive response score ranging from 0 to 1 with 1 representing a perfect match. The mean comprehensive response scores were 0.689 ± 0.018 (mean ± 1 standard deviation) in two frontal simulations, 0.683 ± 0.060 in four rear simulations, 0.676 ± 0.043 in five lateral simulations, and 0.774 ± 0.013 in two vertical simulations. The CORA scores for head and chest accelerations in these simulations exceeded mean scores reported in the original development and validation of the GHBMC M50-OS model. Collectively, the CORA scores indicated that the HBM in these boundary conditions closely replicated the kinematics of the human volunteers across all loading directions.


Finite element modeling Human body model Aerospace Spaceflight Biomechanics Human volunteer GHBMC Validation 



This study was supported by NASA Human Health and Performance Contract (HHPC) Award Number NNJ15HK11B through KBRwyle. Views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of NASA or KBRwyle. Simulations were performed on the DEAC cluster at Wake Forest University. This work also used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation Grant Number OCI-1053575. Specifically, it used the Bridges system, which is supported by NSF Award Number ACI-1445606, at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC).31

Conflict of interest

Dr. Stitzel and Dr. Gayzik are members of Elemance, LLC, which provides academic and commercial licenses of the GHBMC-owned human body computer models.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James P. Gaewsky
    • 1
    • 2
  • Derek A. Jones
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xin Ye
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bharath Koya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kyle P. McNamara
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Scott Gayzik
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ashley A. Weaver
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jacob B. Putnam
    • 3
  • Jeffrey T. Somers
    • 3
  • Joel D. Stitzel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Wake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Tech-Wake Forest Center for Injury BiomechanicsWinston-SalemUSA
  3. 3.KBRwyleHoustonUSA

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