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You are here: Home Individual Projects First Funding Period (2004-2007) Project C1: Skull Mechanics

Project C1: Skull Mechanics

Title Biomechanical determinants of sauropodomorph skull
Principal Investigator Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Witzel


The skulls in sauropodomorphs were exposed, like all skulls, to bite forces and mass-dependent forces. Three-dimensional Finite Element Stress Analysis (FESA) allows to visualize stress flows that occur in unspecific FESA skull models under the action of defined forces. Characteristic differences in the stress flows depend primarily on variants of the lengths, shapes and the positions of the dental arcades and the sizes of the brain cases. In a second step, those parts of the FE models which receive stresses below a threshold value are eliminated and the remaining shapes compared to actual skulls. These "reduced models" are again exposed to the original loads, resulting in a concentration of the stress flows which will increase the similarity to real skulls. The variations of bite forces and external forces applied to the models are compared to results obtained in modern animals during food processing. We expect to obtain well-founded knowledge at the level of engineering science about the functional meaning of variants in the skulls of sauropodomorphs.

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