Assessing impact direction in 3-point bending of human femora: incomplete butterfly fractures and fracture surfaces

Mariyam Isa, Todd W. Fenton, Mariyam S. Isa, Roger C. Haut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Current literature associates bending failure with butterfly fracture, in which fracture initiates transversely at the tensile surface of a bent bone and branches as it propagates toward the impact surface. The orientation of the resulting wedge fragment is often considered diagnostic of impact direction. However, experimental studies indicate bending does not always produce complete butterfly fractures or produces wedge fragments variably in tension or compression, precluding their use in interpreting directionality. This study reports results of experimental 3-point bending tests on thirteen unembalmed human femora. Complete fracture patterns varied following bending failure, but incomplete fractures and fracture surface characteristics were observed in all impacted specimens. A flat, billowy fracture surface was observed in tension, while jagged, angular peaks were observed in compression. Impact direction was accurately reconstructed using incomplete tension wedge butterfly fractu
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 2018

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