The viscous criterion is a recently developed criterion to assess injury severity of the human thorax. In the viscous criterion, the peak viscous response, which is defined as the maximum product of deformation velocity and compression of an object, is proposed as a predictor of injury risk. However, the physical meaning of the criterion is not very clear. In this paper, the mathematical properties of the viscous criterion are analyzed. A mechanical thorax model is then used to relate the criterion to the physical quantities of the model using energy concepts. It is found that the so-called peak viscous response is strongly related to the peak energy storing rate of the thorax which is not related to the viscosity of the thorax. It is also shown that the viscous response of the thorax is given by the integral of the velocity squared with respect to time. The analysis is further expanded to a more general case to result in four criteria based upon the energy concepts. A hypothesis for injury assessment is proposed by using the four criteria.

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