Biomechanical and Physiological Effects of Thermal Expansion in Human Head

F. Wang, H.P. Lee, C. Lu, and Y.Y. Wang (Singapore)


Computational biomechanics, finite element method, analytical approach, mismatch of coefficient of thermal expansion.


This paper investigates the possible biomechanical and physiological effects of thermal expansion on human head due to fever with the finite element method. The current finite element model approximates the basic human head structure with the average size of an adult. The temperature of a human head during fever may increase from 36°C to 41°C. Mismatch of coefficients of thermal expansion among different layers of the human head structure will cause the increase of stress/pressure, which may have some biomechanical and physiological effects on brain. This phenomenon has not been addressed so far. It is found in this study that fever will cause extra intracranial pressure in human head. Differentiation of intracranial pressure increase by fever from other causes, such as trauma and hydrocephalus, will help the neurological practitioners to yield more objective diagnosis for head injured patients.

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