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If your institution uses Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password. Contributed by the Bioengineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Blast waves generated in the field explosions impinge on the head-brain complex and induce mechanical pressure pulses in the brain resulting in traumatic brain injury. In a previous study, we verified that pulse waveforms change markedly due to arterial stiffness.
Severity of the brain injury (mild to moderate to severe) is dependent upon the magnitude and duration of the pressure pulse, which in turn depends on the intensity and duration of the oncoming blast wave.
However, a pulse wave consists of two components, the incident wave and multireflected waves.

A fluid-filled cylinder is idealized to represent the head-brain complex in its simplest form; the cylinder is experimentally subjected to an air blast of Friedlander type, and the temporal variations of cylinder surface pressures and strains and fluid pressures are measured.
Clarification of the complicated propagation of these waves is necessary to gain an understanding of the nature of pulse waves in vivo. Based on these measured data and results from computational simulations, the mechanical loading pathways from the external blast to the pressure field in the fluid are identified; it is hypothesized that the net loading at a given material point in the fluid comprises direct transmissive loads and deflection-induced indirect loads. In this study, we built a one-dimensional theoretical model of a pressure wave propagating in a flexible tube. To evaluate the applicability of the model, we compared theoretical estimations with measured data obtained from basic tube models and a simple arterial model. Soft polyurethane tubes were used and the configuration was based on a realistic human arterial network. Inner pressure waves and flow velocity were then measured using a pressure sensor and an ultrasonic diagnostic system. We formulated a 1D model derived from the Navier-Stokes equations and a continuity equation to characterize pressure propagation in flexible tubes.

The theoretical model includes nonlinearity and attenuation terms due to the tube wall, and flow viscosity derived from a steady Hagen-Poiseuille profile. Under the same configuration as for experiments, the governing equations were computed using the MacCormack scheme. A possible explanation for the increase in the square sum of residuals is the approximation error for flow viscosity. However, the comparatively small values prove the validity of the approach and indicate the usefulness of the model for understanding pressure propagation in the human arterial network.

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