Forensic evaluations of fracture patterns arising from blunt force trauma to the human head have traditionally relied upon case studies rather than controlled experimental data. Existing research typically focuses on the mechanical response of skull and brain tissue to blunt impact, while patterns of fracture arising from trauma have yet to be investigated in depth. The objective of this study was to investigate the comparative contribution of intrinsic skull properties, such as skull morphology, and extrinsic impact properties, such as impact location, to the prediction of remote fracture initiation.
Computational models were constructed from pre-impact CT scans of three specimens with representative skull thickness (thin, average, and thick). Each representative specimen underwent a total of six simulated parietal impacts; both lateral and superiorolateral impacts from three different impactor geometrics. Contours of peak stresses at maximum impactor engagement were generated and compared to the corresponding experimental high-speed video results.
While impactor geometry has been shown to affect local fracture pattern, the computational results suggest that skull morphology and impact location may primarily influence the location of remote fracture initiation. Skull morphology contributes to remote peak tensile stress concentrations in regions commonly experiencing remote fracture initiation. Changes in impact direction affected which geometric inconsistencies were exploited.