Senior Project Involves Running Bones Over with a Train

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Dr. Meyer with William Addis, a senior in biomedical engineering , performed femur fracture testing on April 18. They did 12 experiments at Henry Ford Museum with Matt Goodwin the Roundhouse Supervisor. He drove a diesel train over several bones from two directions (medial and lateral) with the bones anterior side up or posterior side up. The Sawbones that we used are a special composite material that is designed to have similar material and structural properties and failure characteristics with human bone. The preliminary results showed that the fracture pattern  was similar for most of the bones and matched with the typical “bending” fracture pattern. A “butterfly” wedge section of bone was seen in many cases and was aligned with the direction of impact from the train wheel. This information will be utilized by forensic biomechanics experts in autopsy or injury court cases that involve train-pedestrian accidents. Brian Weaver is the Director of Biomechanics for Armstrong Forensic Engineers in Milford, MI. He is the technical advisor for William Addis’s senior project and also donated the materials for this project.

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