Established in 2011 with funding from The Royal British Legion and Imperial College London
All research within the Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies is clinically driven
All research within the Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies is clinically driven, providing underpinning science and technology, and is prioritised based on:
"The Centre is one of the principal academic institutes engaged in military medical research in the UK… [it] has a critical role to play in the continued knowledge development [of blast injuries] and will continue to play a major role in delivering valuable research to meet Defence medical requirement. "
-- Brigadier Tim Hodgetts CBE
Medical Director, Defence Medical Services
Abstract: The complex structural and material behaviour of the human heel fat pad determines the transmission of plantar loading to the lower limb across a wide range of loading scenarios; from locomotion to injurious incidents. The aim of this study was to quantify the hyper-viscoelastic material properties of the human heel fat pad across strains and strain rates. An inverse finite element (FE) optimisation algorithm was developed and used, in conjunction with quasi-static and dynamic tests performed to five cadaveric heel specimens, to derive specimen-specific and mean hyper-viscoelastic material models able to predict accurately the response of the tissue at compressive loading of strain rates up to 150s(-1). The mean behaviour was expressed by the quasi-linear viscoelastic (QLV) material formulation, combining the Yeoh material model (C10=0.1MPa, C30=7MPa, K=2GPa) and Prony׳s terms (A1=0.06, A2=0.77, A3=0.02 for τ1=1ms, τ2=10ms, τ3=10s). These new data help to understand better the functional anatomy and pathophysiology of the foot and ankle, develop biomimetic materials for tissue reconstruction, design of shoe, insole, and foot and ankle orthoses, and improve the predictive ability of computational models of the foot and ankle used to simulate daily activities or predict injuries at high rate injurious incidents such as road traffic accidents and underbody blast.
Pub.: 20 Sep '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Understanding of the cellular immune response to primary blast lung injury (PBLI) is limited, with only the neutrophil response well documented. Moreover, its impact on the immune response in distal organs remains poorly understood. In this study, a rodent model of isolated primary blast injury was used to investigate the acute cellular immune response to isolated PBLI in the circulation and lung; including the monocyte response, and investigate distal sub-acute immune effects in the spleen and liver 6hr after injury.Rats were subjected to a shock wave (~135kPa overpressure, 2ms duration) inducing PBLI or sham procedure. Rat physiology was monitored and at 1, 3 and 6 hr thereafter blood, lung, and Broncho-alveolar lavage fluid (BALF) were collected and analysed by flow cytometry (FCM), ELISA and Histology. In addition, at 6hr spleen and liver were collected and analysed by FCM.Lung histology confirmed pulmonary barotrauma and inflammation. This was associated with rises in CXCL-1, IL-6, TNF-α and albumin protein in the BALF. Significant acute increases in blood and lung neutrophils and CD43Lo/His48Hi (classical) monocytes/macrophages were detected. No significant changes were seen in blood or lung 'non-classical' monocyte, NK, B or T Cells. In the BALF, significant increases were seen in neutrophils, CD43Lo monocyte-macrophages and MCP-1. Significant increases in CD43Lo and Hi monocyte-macrophages were detected in the spleen at 6hr.This study reveals a robust and selective response of CD43Lo/His48Hi (classical) monocytes - in addition to neutrophils - in blood and lung tissue following PBLI. An increase in monocyte-macrophages was also observed in the spleen at 6hr. This profile of immune cells in the blood and BALF could present a new research tool for translational studies seeking to monitor, assess or attenuate the immune response in blast injured patients.Experimental laboratory study.WC- 300.
Pub.: 17 Jun '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Delamination processes absorb significant amounts of energy in laminated glass windows when they are subjected to blast loads. Blast tests were performed previously and their results had been used to calculate the loads imposed on the support systems. In this research, the delamination process at realistic deformation rates was studied to understand the reaction force response obtained. Laboratory tensile tests were performed on pre-cracked laminated glass specimens to investigate their delamination behaviour. The experiments confirmed the presence of a plateau in the force-deflection graphs, suggesting the delamination process absorbed significant energy. The experimental results were then employed to calibrate FEA models of the delamination process with the aim of estimating the delamination energy of the Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) membrane and glass layers and its relationship with deformation speed. The delamination energies obtained through this research, if used with the appropriate PVB material model, are a valuable new tool new tool in the modelling and design of laminated glass façade structures.
Pub.: 27 May '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Abstract Protecting structures from the effect of blast loads requires the careful design of all building components. In this context, the mechanical properties of Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) are of interest to designers as the membrane behaviour will affect the performance of laminated glass glazing when loaded by explosion pressure waves. This polymer behaves in a complex manner and is difficult to model over the wide range of strain rates relevant to blast analysis. In this study, data from experimental tests conducted at strain rates from 0.01 s−1 to 400 s−1 were used to develop material models accounting for the rate dependency of the material. Firstly, two models were derived assuming Prony series formulations. A reduced polynomial spring and a spring derived from the model proposed by Hoo Fatt and Ouyang were used. Two fits were produced for each of these models, one for low rate cases, up to 8 s−1, and one for high rate cases, from 20 s−1. Afterwards, a single model representing all rates was produced using a finite deformation viscoelastic model. This assumed two hyperelastic springs in parallel, one of which was in series with a non-linear damper. The results were compared with the experimental results, assessing the quality of the fits in the strain range of interest for blast loading situations. This should provide designers with the information to choose between the available models depending on their design needs.AbstractProtecting structures from the effect of blast loads requires the careful design of all building components. In this context, the mechanical properties of Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) are of interest to designers as the membrane behaviour will affect the performance of laminated glass glazing when loaded by explosion pressure waves. This polymer behaves in a complex manner and is difficult to model over the wide range of strain rates relevant to blast analysis. In this study, data from experimental tests conducted at strain rates from 0.01 s−1 to 400 s−1 were used to develop material models accounting for the rate dependency of the material. Firstly, two models were derived assuming Prony series formulations. A reduced polynomial spring and a spring derived from the model proposed by Hoo Fatt and Ouyang were used. Two fits were produced for each of these models, one for low rate cases, up to 8 s−1, and one for high rate cases, from 20 s−1. Afterwards, a single model representing all rates was produced using a finite deformation viscoelastic model. This assumed two hyperelastic springs in parallel, one of which was in series with a non-linear damper. The results were compared with the experimental results, assessing the quality of the fits in the strain range of interest for blast loading situations. This should provide designers with the information to choose between the available models depending on their design needs.−1−1−1−1
Pub.: 01 Nov '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Segment-based musculoskeletal models allow the prediction of muscle, ligament, and joint forces without making assumptions regarding joint degrees-of-freedom (DOF). The dataset published for the "Grand Challenge Competition to Predict in vivo Knee Loads" provides directly measured tibiofemoral contact forces for activities of daily living (ADL). For the Sixth Grand Challenge Competition to Predict in vivo Knee Loads, blinded results for "smooth" and "bouncy" gait trials were predicted using a customized patient-specific musculoskeletal model. For an unblinded comparison, the following modifications were made to improve the predictions: further customizations, including modifications to the knee center of rotation; reductions to the maximum allowable muscle forces to represent known loss of strength in knee arthroplasty patients; and a kinematic constraint to the hip joint to address the sensitivity of the segment-based approach to motion tracking artifact. For validation, the improved model was applied to normal gait, squat, and sit-to-stand for three subjects. Comparisons of the predictions with measured contact forces showed that segment-based musculoskeletal models using patient-specific input data can estimate tibiofemoral contact forces with root mean square errors (RMSEs) of 0.48-0.65 times body weight (BW) for normal gait trials. Comparisons between measured and predicted tibiofemoral contact forces yielded an average coefficient of determination of 0.81 and RMSEs of 0.46-1.01 times BW for squatting and 0.70-0.99 times BW for sit-to-stand tasks. This is comparable to the best validations in the literature using alternative models.
Pub.: 01 Jan '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Blast injuries from conventional and improvised explosive devices account for 75% of injuries from current conflicts; over 70% of injuries involve the limbs. Variable duration and magnitude of blast wave loading occurs in real-life explosions and is hypothesised to cause different injuries. While a number of in vivo models report the inflammatory response to blast injuries, the extent of this response has not been investigated with respect to the duration of the primary blast wave. The relevance is that explosions in open air are of short duration compared to those in confined spaces.Hindlimbs of adult Sprauge-Dawley rats were subjected to focal isolated primary blast waves of varying overpressure (1.8-3.65kPa) and duration (3.0-11.5ms), utilising a shock tube and purpose-built experimental rig. Rats were monitored during and after the blast. At 6 and 24h after exposure, blood, lungs, liver and muscle tissues were collected and prepared for histology and flow cytometry.At 6h, increases in circulating neutrophils and CD43Lo/His48Hi monocytes were observed in rats subjected to longer-duration blast waves. This was accompanied by increases in circulating pro-inflammatory chemo/cytokines KC and IL-6. No changes were observed with shorter-duration blast waves irrespective of overpressure. In all cases, no histological damage was observed in muscle, lung or liver. By 24h post-blast, all inflammatory parameters had normalised.We report the development of a rodent model of primary blast limb trauma that is the first to highlight an important role played by blast wave duration and magnitude in initiating acute inflammatory response following limb injury in the absence of limb fracture or penetrating trauma. The combined biological and mechanical method developed can be used to further understand the complex effects of blast waves in a range of different tissues and organs in vivo.
Pub.: 04 Feb '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Under-vehicle explosions often result in injury of occupants׳ lower extremities. The majority of these injuries are associated with poor outcomes. The protective ability of vehicles against explosions is assessed with Anthropometric Test Devices (ATDs) such as the MIL-Lx, which is designed to behave in a similar way to the human lower extremity when subjected to axial loading. It incorporates tibia load cells, the response of which can provide an indication of the risk of injury to the lower extremity through the use of injury risk curves developed from cadaveric experiments. In this study an axisymmetric finite element model of the MIL-Lx with a combat boot was developed and validated. Model geometry was obtained from measurements taken using digital callipers and rulers from the MIL-Lx, and using CT images for the combat boot. Appropriate experimental methods were used to obtain material properties. These included dynamic, uniaxial compression tests, quasi-static stress-relaxation tests and 3 point bending tests. The model was validated by comparing force-time response measured at the tibia load cells and the amount of compliant element compression obtained experimentally and computationally using two blast-injury experimental rigs. Good correlations between the numerical and experimental results were obtained with both. This model can now be used as a virtual test-bed of mitigation designs and in surrogate device development.
Pub.: 01 Mar '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Publication date: Available online 14 September 2016 Source:Journal of Biomechanics Author(s): Daniel Nolte, Chui Kit Tsang, Kai Yu Zhang, Ziyun Ding, Angela E. Kedgley, Anthony M.J. Bull Accurate muscle geometry for musculoskeletal models is important to enable accurate subject-specific simulations. Commonly, linear scaling is used to obtain individualised muscle geometry. More advanced methods include non-linear scaling using segmented bone surfaces and manual or semi-automatic digitisation of muscle paths from medical images. In this study, a new scaling method combining non-linear scaling with reconstructions of bone surfaces using statistical shape modelling is presented. Statistical Shape Models (SSMs) of femur and tibia/fibula were used to reconstruct bone surfaces of nine subjects. Reference models were created by morphing manually digitised muscle paths to mean shapes of the SSMs using non-linear transformations and inter-subject variability was calculated. Subject-specific models of muscle attachment and via points were created from three reference models. The accuracy was evaluated by calculating the differences between the scaled and manually digitised models. The points defining the muscle paths showed large inter-subject variability at the thigh and shank – up to 26mm; this was found to limit the accuracy of all studied scaling methods. Errors for the subject-specific muscle point reconstructions of the thigh could be decreased by 9% to 20% by using the non-linear scaling compared to a typical linear scaling method. We conclude that the proposed non-linear scaling method is more accurate than linear scaling methods. Thus, when combined with the ability to reconstruct bone surfaces from incomplete or scattered geometry data using statistical shape models our proposed method is an alternative to linear scaling methods.
Pub.: 16 Sep '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: The auditory-brainstem response (ABR) to short and simple acoustical signals is an important clinical tool used to diagnose the integrity of the brainstem. The ABR is also employed to investigate the auditory brainstem in a multitude of tasks related to hearing, such as processing speech or selectively focusing on one speaker in a noisy environment. Such research measures the response of the brainstem to short speech signals such as vowels or words. Because the voltage signal of the ABR has a tiny amplitude, several hundred to a thousand repetitions of the acoustic signal are needed to obtain a reliable response. The large number of repetitions poses a challenge to assessing cognitive functions due to neural adaptation. Here we show that continuous, non-repetitive speech, lasting several minutes, may be employed to measure the ABR. Because the speech is not repeated during the experiment, the precise temporal form of the ABR cannot be determined. We show, however, that important structural features of the ABR can nevertheless be inferred. In particular, the brainstem responds at the fundamental frequency of the speech signal, and this response is modulated by the envelope of the voiced parts of speech. We accordingly introduce a novel measure that assesses the ABR as modulated by the speech envelope, at the fundamental frequency of speech and at the characteristic latency of the response. This measure has a high signal-to-noise ratio and can hence be employed effectively to measure the ABR to continuous speech. We use this novel measure to show that the ABR is weaker to intelligible speech than to unintelligible, time-reversed speech. The methods presented here can be employed for further research on speech processing in the auditory brainstem and can lead to the development of future clinical diagnosis of brainstem function.
Pub.: 16 Jun '16, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: A retrospective case series of UK victims of blast injury.To identify the injury patterns in the spine caused by under-vehicle blast, and attempt to derive the mechanism of those injuries.The Improvised Explosive Device has been a feature of recent conflicts with frequent attacks on vehicles, leading to devastating injuries. Vehicle design has evolved to reduce the risk of injury to occupants in underbody blast, where the device detonates beneath the vehicle. The mechanism of spinal injury in such attacks is not well understood; understanding the injury mechanism is necessary to produce evidence-based mitigation strategies.A Joint Theatre Trauma Registry search identified UK victims of blast between 2008 and 2013. Each victim had their initial scan reviewed to classify spinal fractures.Seventy-eight victims were identified, of whom 53 were survivors. There were a total of 284 fractures, including 101 thoracolumbar vertebral body fractures and 39 cervical spine fractures. Most thoracolumbar fractures were wedge compression injuries. Most cervical spine fractures were compression-extension injuries.The most common thoracic and lumbar body fractures in this group suggest a flexed posture at the time of injury. Most cervical spine fractures were in extension, which might be compatible with the head having struck another object.Modifying the seated posture might reduce the risk of thoracolumbar injury, or allow the resulting injury patterns to be controlled. Cervical spine injuries might be mitigated by changing vehicle design to protect the head.N/A.
Pub.: 17 Nov '15, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
Abstract: Studies suggest that fluid motion in the extracellular space may be involved in the cellular mechanosensitivity at play in the bone tissue adaptation process. Previously, the authors developed a mesoscale predictive structural model of the femur using truss elements to represent trabecular bone, relying on a phenomenological strain-based bone adaptation algorithm. In order to introduce a response to bending and shear, the authors considered the use of beam elements, requiring a new formulation of the bone adaptation drivers. The primary goal of the study presented here was to isolate phenomenological drivers based on the results of a mechanistic approach to be used with a beam element representation of trabecular bone in mesoscale structural modelling. A single-beam model and a microscale poroelastic model of a single trabecula were developed. A mechanistic iterative adaptation algorithm was implemented based on fluid motion velocity through the bone matrix pores to predict the remodelled geometries of the poroelastic trabecula under 42 different loading scenarios. Regression analyses were used to correlate the changes in poroelastic trabecula thickness and orientation to the initial strain outputs of the beam model. Linear ([Formula: see text]) and third-order polynomial ([Formula: see text]) relationships were found between change in cross section and axial strain at the central axis, and between beam reorientation and ratio of bending strain to axial strain, respectively. Implementing these relationships into the phenomenological predictive algorithm for the mesoscale structural femur has the potential to produce a model combining biofidelic structure and mechanical behaviour with computational efficiency.
Pub.: 05 Nov '15, Pinned: 17 Jan '17
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