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A Novel Paradigm to Develop Regional Thoracoabdominal Criteria for Behind Armor Blunt Trauma Based on Original Data. Mil Med 2023 Nov 08;188(Suppl 6):598-605



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85176432947 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)


INTRODUCTION: For behind armor blunt trauma (BABT), recent prominent BABT standards for chest plate define a maximum deformation distance of 44 mm in clay. It was developed for soft body armor applications with limited animal, gelatin, and clay tests. The legacy criterion does not account for differing regional thoracoabdominal tolerances to behind armor-induced injury. This study examines the rationale and approaches used in the legacy BABT clay criterion and presents a novel paradigm to develop thoracoabdominal regional injury risk curves.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A review of the original military and law enforcement studies using animals, surrogates, and body armor materials was conducted, and a reanalysis of data was performed. A multiparameter model analysis describes survival-lethality responses using impactor/projectile (mass, diameter, and impact velocity) and specimen (weight and tissue thickness) variables. Binary regression risk curves with ±95% confidence intervals (CIs) and peak deformations from simulant tests are presented.

RESULTS: Injury risk curves from 74 goat thorax tests showed that peak deflections of 44.7 mm (±95% CI: 17.6 to 55.4 mm) and 49.9 mm (±95% CI: 24.7 to 60.4 mm) were associated with the 10% and 15% probability of lethal outcomes. 20% gelatin and Roma Plastilina #1 clay were stiffer than goat. The clay was stiffer than 20% gelatin. Penetration diameters showed greater variations (on a test-by-test basis, difference 36-53%) than penetration depths (0-12%) across a range of projectiles and velocities.

CONCLUSIONS: While the original authors stressed limitations and the importance of additional tests for refining the 44 mm recommendation, they were not pursued. As live swine tests are effective in developing injury criteria and the responses of different areas of the thoracoabdominal regions are different because of anatomy, structure, and function, a new set of swine and human cadaver tests are necessary to develop scaling relationships. Live swine tests are needed to develop incapacitation/lethal injury risk functions; using scaling relationships, human injury criteria can be developed.

Author List

Yoganandan N, Shah A, Somberg L, Baisden J, Stemper BD, Bass C, Salzar RS, Chancey VC, McEntire J


Brian Stemper PhD Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Narayan Yoganandan PhD Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Forensic Ballistics
Protective Clothing
Wounds, Nonpenetrating