Biodynamic response and spinal load estimation of seated body in vibration using finite element modeling

Wenping Wang, Babak Bazrgari, Aboulfazl Shirazi-Adl, Subhash Rakheja, Paul Émile Boileau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Trunk biomechanical models play an indispensable role in predicting muscle forces and spinal loads under whole-body vibration (WBV) exposures. Earlier measurements on the force-motion biodynamic response (impedance, apparent mass) at the body-seat interface and vibration transmissibility (seat to head) have led to the development of different mechanical models. Such models could simulate the overall passive response and serve as an important tool for vehicle seat design. They cannot, however, evaluate physiological parameters of interest under the WBV. On the contrary, anatomical models simulating human's physiological characteristics can predict activities in muscles and their dynamic effects on the spine. In this study, a kinematics-driven nonlinear finite element model of the spine, in which the kinematics data are prescribed, is used to analyse the trunk response in seated WBV. Predictions of the active model (i.e., with varying muscle forces) as compared with the passive model (i.e., with no muscle forces) compared satisfactorily with measurements on vertical apparent mass and seat-to-head transmissibility biodynamic responses. Results demonstrated the crucial role of muscle forces in the dynamic response of the trunk. Muscle forces, while maintaining trunk equilibrium, substantially increased the compression and shear forces on the spine and, hence, the risk of tissue injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-564
Number of pages8
JournalIndustrial Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Biodynamic responses
  • Finite element modelling
  • Muscle forces
  • Seated-body vibration
  • Spinal loads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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