Spinal Load of Occupational Drivers: A Modular Simulation Tool

A. Grunendahl and F. Schube (Germany)


Experiments and modeling, FEM modeling, spine, whole body vibration, viscoelasticity


Occupational drivers suffer more often from low back pain (LBP) than members of a comparison group. Besides economical factors of employees obtaining disability pen sions, the health of people has to be protected. To build up an effective protection, the causes of damage need to be known in the first place. The finite element method (FEM) provides an appropriate tool to carry out close in vestigations on the causes of LBP. A simulation tool is presented which enables the analysis of different aspects of the process of developing LBP of occupational drivers. The tool consists of a device for generating the road un evenness, a model of the vehicle and a model of a seated human. The modular conception of the tool allows a de tailed insight into the various aspects of the problem. Every component of the tool can be refined and verified with experimental data. A brief description of the compo nents is presented as well as recent improvements in the model of the lumbar spine taking into account viscoelastic effects. Furthermore, a damage model for the disc is in troduced. The tool shows the qualitative relationship be tween the unevenness of the road and the spinal loading.

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