This preliminary study aims to computationally model and study the fracture patterns in the human calcaneus during variable impact loading conditions. A finite element model of the foot and ankle is used to understand the effect of loading rates and orientation of the foot on fracture patterns. Simulations are carried out by applying varying impact velocities of steel plate to the foot & ankle model in accordance with data regarding underbody blasts. These impact velocities are applied to reach a peak in 1.5 ms. Fracture of bone is represented using the plastic kinematic constitutive model with element erosion method, where elements are removed from the simulation after an inelastic failure strain is exceeded. The simulations last for 5 ms to observe the extent of fracture in the calcaneus.
Following simulations, the resulting fracture patterns are compared to available images from experimental impact tests to qualitatively assess the simufutions. A mesh convergence study is performed to determine the level of refinement of mesh necessary to represent this problem. The mesh appears to converge at the refinement level of the medium coarse mesh. The effect of impact velocities on fracture is studied on unjlexed and flexed foot models. At lower velocities, fracture is observed in the form of a single continuous crack, and a pronounced branched type of network is observed at higher velocities. Finally, variation in fracture networks due to variability in strength of the bone is studied. For lower values of failure strain, significantly larger and branched networks of fracture are observed.