Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) due to the impact is a critical health concern. Impact mitigation strategy is a vital design paradigm to reduce the burden of TBI and CTE. In this regard, woodpecker biomimicry continues to attract attention. However, a direct comparison between a woodpecker and human biomechanical responses is lacking. Toward this end, we investigate the biomechanical response of a woodpecker during pecking using a two-dimensional head model. We also analyze the response of concurrent human head model to facilitate direct comparison with woodpecker response. The head models of woodpecker and human were built from medical images, the material properties were adopted from the literature. Both woodpecker and human head models were subjected to head kinematics obtained during pecking and resulting biomechanical response is studied. For the pecking cycle simulated in this work, peak rotational velocity and acceleration were ∼15 rad/s and 7,057 rad/s. These peak values are commensurate with the kinematics threshold values reported in human TBI. Our results show that, for the same input acceleration, the strains and stresses in the woodpecker brain are approximately six times lower than that of the human brain. The stress reduction is mainly attributed to the smaller size of the woodpecker head. The effect of pecking frequency and multiple pecking cycles have also been studied. It is observed that the strains and stresses in the brain are increased by ∼100% as pecking frequency is doubled. During multiple pecking cycle, dwell period of ∼90 ms tend to relax the stresses in the woodpecker brain; however, the amount of relaxation depends on the value of the decay constant. The comparison of biomechanical response against the axonal injury threshold suggests that for peak rotational acceleration of 7,057 rad/s the maximum principal strain in the brains of woodpecker and human exceed the threshold limit. Acceleration scaling relationship between a woodpecker and equivalent human response is also developed as a function of head size. We obtain a scaling factor, , of 0.11 for baseline head sizes and a scaling factor of 1.03 as the human head size approaches woodpecker head size.
Copyright © 2020 Ganpule, Sutar and Shinde.

References

PubMed