Head Injury Biomechanics

  • Jorge A. C. Ambrosio
Conference paper
Part of the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences book series (CISM, volume 423)


Impact to the head causes translational and rotational acceleration of the skull that sets up differential motion with the brain. This causes strain in neural tissues and at points of tethering. With a severe enough impact, the relative brain motion can also tear bridging veins at the cortex, lacerate the base of the brain and contuse brain tissue adjacent to internal membranes and tethering points. Brain function can be damaged by diffuse axonal injury, related to high strain and strain-rate deformation of neural tissue. The Head Injury Criterion (HIC) assesses injury risks from translational acceleration. It is proportional to ∫a2.5 dt, where a is the resultant head acceleration. HIC = 1000 represents a 16% risk of serious brain injury. Limits are also proposed for peak 3 ms translational acceleration, rotational velocity and rotational acceleration of the head. Various mechanical and mathematical tools are used as human surrogates to simulate impact events and assess injury risks.


Angular Acceleration Head Impact Rotational Acceleration Diffuse Axonal Injury Head Acceleration 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge A. C. Ambrosio
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Superior TécnicoPortugal

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