Designing against head injury while considering nech injury

Simon M. Hsiang, Stephen Ekwaro-Osire, Taek Hyun Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Without a doubt, the major concern of vehicle design is safety ̈C increasing the survival chance of driver and passenger during a crash and decreasing the risk of injury. Safety features, such as seat belt, seat cushion with crash tubing, or frontal and side impact airbags, have been proposed to protect the occupants from the secondary impacts. This study adapts a transdisciplinary approach, combining research from epidemiology and injury biomechanics as a basis for identifying design problem areas and variable trade-offs. The objectives of this paper are to review literature on head injury and neck injury, and to provide suggestions for designing against head injury while considering neck injury. Since the head injury is mainly caused by contact, the fundamental design principle is to minimize any hard surface protrusion. Especially sharp objects, such as dash shade and mirrors, must be removed or kept outside the striking range in any configuration. There are several principles that can be used, in any combination, to achieve the required crush depth: (1) to prevent skull damage and brain trauma, locally modifying the design by removing rigid high points and moving hard assemblies down or under; (2) to decelerate head and torso at the same rate (which will also decrease the risk of neck injury) by modifying hard structures to make them crush or collapsible and obtaining as much clearance. There is a need to design and construct test equipment that can be used to test neck injury and head injury simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-59
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Integrated Design and Process Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


  • HIC
  • Head injury criterion
  • Neck injury
  • Whiplash


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