Understanding load transfer to the human brain is a complex problem that has been a key subject of recent investigations [4–6]. Because the porcine is a gyrencephalic species, having greater structural and functional similarities to the human brain than other lower species outlined in the literature, it is commonly chosen as a surrogate for human brain studies [7]. Consequently, we have chosen to use a porcine model in this work. To understand stress wave transfer to and through the brain, it is important to fully characterize the nature of the impact (i.e. source, location, and speed) as well as the response of the constituent tissues under such impact. We suspect the material and topology of these tissues play an important role in their response.

In this paper, we report on a numerical study assessing the sensitivity of model parameters for a 6-month old Gottingen mini-pig model, under bump loading. In this study, 2D models are used for computational simplicity. While a 3D model is more realistic in nature, a 2D representation is still valuable in that it can provide trends on parameter sensitivity that can help steer the development of the 3D model. In this work, we investigate the variation of skull and skin thickness, evaluate material variability of the skull, and consider the effects of nasal cavities on load transfer. Eighty simulations are computed in LS-DYNA and analyzed in MATLAB. The results of this study will provide useful knowledge on the necessary components and parameters of the porcine model and therefore provide more confidence in the analysis. This is an essential first step as we look toward bridging the gap between correlates of injury in animal and human models.

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