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Marine Mammal Lung Dynamics when Exposed to Underwater Explosion Impulse

ABSTRACT Very little is known about marine mammal susceptibility to primary blast injury (PBI) except in rare cases of opportunistic studies. As a result, traditional analysis techniques relied on methods developed more than 30 years ago using terrestrial mammals as surrogates. Modeling tools available today have the computing power to vastly improve calculation of safe ranges and injury zones from underwater explosions (UNDEX) employing morphologically accurate proxies with material properties similar to marine mammal tissues. The Dynamic System Mechanics Advanced Simulation (DYSMAS) fluid–structure interaction (FSI) software is being used to simulate the complex phenomena of UNDEX, shock wave, and bubble pulse propagation through the water and transmission of energy to a cetacean focusing on the dynamic response of the thoracic cavity and air‐filled lungs to a shock wave. The approach integrates fluid and structural analyses with the material properties of blubber, bone, and muscle using marine mammal morphometrics to eliminate unnecessary assumptions made during more traditional approaches to analysis developed before these types of data and computational power were available. DYSMAS analyses of a 1D gas bubble surrounded by water was found to closely match the classical bubble dynamics models. Further, DYSMAS models of a spherical gas bubble surrounded by tissue and rib structure demonstrate a global radial oscillation of the gas bubble, but also show significant local deflection and material strain in response to the UNDEX loading. The intended result of the investigation is an improved and scientifically defensible understanding of the effects of UNDEX on marine mammals. Anat Rec, 2018. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Anat Rec, 302:718–734, 2019. Published 2018. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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