Rapid deformation of brain matter caused by skull acceleration is one of the most significant causes of concussion and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Despite substantial research being conducted in this area of study, very little is understood regarding the mechanics of the brain when exposed to rapid acceleration. As a result, the biomechanics of TBI remain ambiguous. In the present study, we apply a new strain estimation algorithm that enables the tracking of strains on the periphery of an image onto data obtained from tagged gel phantom and human MR-images. We use this new method to quantify strain concentrations at the brain-skull interface, and observe the interactions between the brain and the connective tissue that anchors it inside the skull. Our results allow us to noninvasively observe and quantify the biomechanical response of the brain to rapid skull movement. We find that the sub-arachnoid space creates regions of high strain magnitudes due to its anatomical makeup, and that the falx cerebri creates regions of high strain due to its inhibition of brain motion. Additionally, we see that skull shape significantly affects the transmission of strains at the brain-skull interface, and that certain skull shapes create localized concentrations of high strains. Our results imply that skull shape plays an important role in affecting sensitivity to acceleration among individuals, and may increase the likelihood of TBI in the event of an accident.

Document Type

Final Report

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study

Date of Submission