Jamming of fingers: an experimental study to determine force and deflection in participants and human cadaver specimens for development of a new bionic test device for validation of power-operated motor vehicle side door windows

Bernd Hohendorff 4 , Christian Weidermann 1 , Philipp Pollinger 2 , Klaus J. Burkhart 3  and Lars Peter Müller 3
  • 1 Ilmenau University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Helmholtzring 1, D-98684 Ilmenau, Germany
  • 2 University of Applied Sciences Coburg, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Automotive Technology andManagement, Mechatronics, Friedrich-Streib-Straße 2, D-96450 Coburg, Germany
  • 3 Department of Trauma, Hand and Elbow Surgery, Centre for Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center Cologne, Kerpener Straße 62, D-50937 Köln, Germany
  • 4 Elbe Clinic Stade Buxtehude, Department of Handsurgery, Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, Bremervörder Straße 111, D-21682 Stade, Germany
Bernd Hohendorff, Christian Weidermann, Philipp Pollinger, Klaus J. Burkhart and Lars Peter Müller


The deformability of human fingers is central to addressing the real-life hazard of finger jamming between the window and seal entry of a power-operated motor vehicle side door window. The index and little fingers of the left hand of 109 participants and of 20 cadaver specimens were placed in a measurement setup. Participants progressively jammed their fingers at five different dorsal-palmar jam positions up to the maximum tolerable pain threshold, whereas the cadaver specimens were jammed up to the maximum possible deflection. Force-deflection curves were calculated corresponding to increasing deflection of the compressed tissue layers of the fingers. The average maximum force applied by the participants was 42 N to the index finger and 35 N to the little finger. In the cadaver fingers, the average of the maximum force applied was 1886 N for the index finger and 1833 N for the little finger. In 200 jam positions, 25 fractures were observed on radiographs; fractures occurred at an average force of 1485 N. These data assisted the development of a prototype of a bionic test device for more realistic validation of power-operated motor vehicle windows.

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