Journal of Biomechanics vol:42 issue:13 pages:2129-2135
Linear and depressed skull fractures are frequent mechanisms of head injury and are often associated with traumatic brain injury. Accurate knowledge of the fracture of cranial bone can provide insight into the prevention of skull fracture injuries and help aid the design of energy absorbing head protection systems and safety helmets. Cranial bone is a complex material comprising of a three-layered structure: external layers consist of compact, high-density cortical bone and the central layer consists of a low-density, irregularly porous bone structure. In this study, cranial bone specimens were extracted from 8 fresh-frozen cadavers (F=4, M=4; 81+/-11 years old). 63 specimens were obtained from the parietal and frontal cranial bones. Prior to testing, all specimens were scanned using a microCT scanner at a resolution of 56.9 microm. The specimens were tested in a three-point bend set-up at different dynamic speeds (0.5, 1 and 2.5 m/s). The associated mechanical properties that were calculated for each specimen include the 2nd moment of inertia, the sectional elastic modulus, the maximum force at failure, the energy absorbed until failure and the maximum bending stress. Additionally, the morphological parameters of each specimen and their correlation with the resulting mechanical parameters were examined. It was found that testing speed, strain rate, cranial sampling position and intercranial variation all have a significant effect on some or all of the computed mechanical parameters. A modest correlation was also found between percent bone volume and both the elastic modulus and the maximum bending stress.