The Brillance of Ingenuity

CFDRC awarded a Navy contract to develop back pain prediction and mitigation models

CFDRC awarded a Navy contract to develop back pain prediction and mitigation models

Huntsville, Ala. | January 17, 2017 – CFD Research Corporation has been awarded a $956k contract from the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to further develop modeling tools to predict and mitigate back pain in military pilots and vehicle occupants.

Military pilots often experience acute pain and repeated painful episodes coupled with unhealed micro-injury leading to inflammation, pain sensitization and chronic pain with possible permanent damage. Pilot readiness and operational availability is reduced.  CFDRC aims to help find improvements in crewstation, seating, procedures, and training that may enhance pilot operational performance and health. 

“Low back pain while piloting military air vehicles is a significant operational and health problem. Seating, task posture and vibration are major lumbar pain contributors,” said Dr. Vincent Harrand, CFDRC vice president.

In prior projects CFDRC developed and integrated scalable human body and spine biomechanics models with acute muscle pain response mathematical models used to predict the occupant fatigue and pain response to inertial and positional stressors. 

In this follow-on project modeling complexity will be enhanced through spinal load sharing, addition of realistic crewstation and seating, and vibration/repetitive impact effects with cushion response. Chronic pain onset prediction will be developed, and dedicated validation studies will be conducted.  CFDRC will employ state-of-the-art molecular biology measurements for chronic pain indication (Duke University) and advanced methods for cyclic fatigue failure in biological tissues (Auburn University).

This multi-scale human body, spinal column and pain model will be used to design seating systems and modifications to minimize the occupant pain response to inertial and vibration loads and seating (geometry and cushions) while wearing restraints and protective clothing/equipment.

“The validated model will be used to analyze existing operational procedures and propose improved operational guidelines to solve problems in an area that is vitally important – Warfighter Protection,” said Dr. Phil Whitley, CFDRC manager and principal investigator.

About CFD Research Corporation: Since its inception in 1987, CFDRC has worked with government agencies, businesses and academia to provide innovative solutions within the Aerospace & Defense, Biomedical & Life Sciences, and Energy & Materials industries. Over the years CFDRC has earned multiple national awards for successful application and commercialization of innovative component/system technology prototypes, multi-physics simulation software and multi-disciplinary analyses. Learn more at

Richard Thoms
Manger, Technology Partnerships // 256.726.4810

Bookmark & Share

Popular tags on this blog

air force | aj singhal | alabama innovation awards | andrzej przekwas | army | biobattery | community | EDPA | HudsonAlpha | human performance | kapil pant | materials modeling | mda | nasa | NIH | phil whitley | ROM | sameer singhal | sonopro | stem cells | sweat sensor | synvivo | techalabama | uah | vincent harrand |