Title page for ETD etd-04262001-122914

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Power, Erik D.
URN etd-04262001-122914
Title A Nonlinear Finite Element Model of the Human Eye to Investigate Ocular Injuries From Night Vision Goggles
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Duma, Stefan M. Committee Chair
West, Robert L. Jr. Committee Co-Chair
Herring, Ian P. Committee Member
Kress, Tyler Committee Member
  • Goggles
  • Airbag
  • Model
  • Eye
Date of Defense 2001-04-20
Availability unrestricted
Airbags have been saving lives in automobile crashes for many years and are now being used in helicopters. The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential for ocular injuries to helicopter pilots wearing night vision goggles when the airbag is deployed. A nonlinear finite element model of the human eye was constructed. Ocular structures never before included in finite element models of the eye, such as the fatty tissue, extraocular muscles, and bony orbit were included in this model. In addition, this model includes material properties up to rupture making the eye suitable for large deformation applications.

The model was imported into Madymo and used to determine the worst-case position of a helicopter pilot wearing night vision goggles. This was evaluated as the greatest Von Mises stress in the eye when the airbag is deployed. The worst-case position was achieved by minimizing the distance between the eyes and goggles, having the occupant look directly into the airbag, and making initial contact with the airbag halfway through its full deployment. By removing the extraocular muscles, the stress sustained by the eye decreased. Simulations with both the goggles remaining fastened and breaking away from the aviator helmet were performed. Finally, placing a protective lens in front of the eyes was found to reduce the stress to the eye but increase the force experienced by the surrounding orbital bones.

The finite element model of the eye proved effective at evaluating the experimental boundary conditions, and could be used in the future to evaluate impact loading on eyes that have been surgically corrected and to model the geometry of the orbital bones.

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