A study of the blast-induced brain white-matter damage and the associated diffuse axonal injury

M. Grujicic, B. D'Entremont, B. Pandurangan, A. Grujicic, M. La Berge, J. Runt, J. Tarter, G. Dillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose - Blast-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a signature injury of the current military conflicts. Among the different types of TBI, diffuse axonal injury (DAI) plays an important role since it can lead to devastating effects in the inflicted military personnel. To better understand the potential causes associated with DAI, this paper aims to investigate a transient non-linear dynamics finite element simulation of the response of the brain white matter to shock loading. Design/methodology/approach - Brain white matter is considered to be a heterogeneous material consisting of fiber-like axons and a structure-less extracellular matrix (ECM). The brain white matter microstructure in the investigated corpus callosum region of the brain is idealized using a regular hexagonal arrangement of aligned equal-size axons. Deviatoric stress response of the axon and the ECM is modeled using a linear isotropic viscoelastic formulation while the hydrostatic stress response is modeled using a shock-type equation of state. To account for the stochastic character of the brain white matter microstructure and shock loading, a parametric study is carried out involving a factorial variation of the key microstructural and waveform parameters. Findings - The results obtained show that the extent of axon undulations and the strength of axon/ECM bonding profoundly affect the spatial distribution and magnitude of the axonal axial normal and shear stresses (the stresses which can cause diffuse axonal injury). Originality/value - The present approach enables a more accurate determination of the mechanical behavior of brain white matter when subjected to a shock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-245
Number of pages33
JournalMultidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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