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Journal Article

The influence of impact direction and axial loading on the bone fracture pattern


Slon,  Viviane       
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;
The Leipzig School of Human Origins (IMPRS), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Cohen, H., Kugel, C., May, H., Medlej, B., Stein, D., Slon, V., et al. (2017). The influence of impact direction and axial loading on the bone fracture pattern. Forensic Science International, 277, 197-206. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.05.015.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-50B9-8
The effect of the direction of the impact and the presence of axial loading on fracture patterns have not yet been established in experimental 3-point bending studies. Purpose: To reveal the association between the direction of the force and the fracture pattern, with and without axial loading. Material and methods: A Dynatup Model POE 2000 (Instron Co.) low energy pendulum impact machine was utilized to apply impact loading on fresh pig femoral bones (n = 50). The bone clamp shaft was adjusted to position the bone for three-point bending with and without additional bone compression. Four different directions of the force were applied: anterior, posterior, lateral, and medial. Results: the impacted aspect can be distinguished from the non-impacted aspects based on the fracture pattern alone (the most fractured one); the impact point can be identified on bare bones (the area from which all oblique lines radiate and/or the presence of a chip fragment). None of our experiments (with and without compression) yielded a “true” butterfly fracture, but instead, oblique radiating lines emerged from the point of impact (also known as “false” butterfly). Impacts on the lateral and anterior aspects of the bones produce more and longer fracture lines than impacts on the contralateral side; bones subjected to an impact with axial loading are significantly more comminuted and fragmented. Under axial loading, the number of fracture lines is independent of the impact direction. Our study presents an experimental model for fracture analysis and shows that the impact direction and the presence of axial loading during impact significantly affect the fracture pattern obtained.