Computer simulation for postmortem cooling processes in the outer ear

Yoshimasa Kanawaku, Jun Kanetake, Atsuki Komiya, Shigenao Maruyama, Masato Funayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: A simulation using a computer model was undertaken to investigate postmortem cooling patterns in the outer ear. Methods: Cooling patterns were analyzed using a 3-dimensional head model built from brain CT images of a volunteer. The simulation was verified with a case subject under constant environmental conditions to obtain an appropriate heat transmission coefficient. Results: The cooling pattern of the head model agreed with that of the case subject when the heat transmission coefficient was 6 W/m2 °C, and it could be approximated to a single exponential curve. Discussion: This is the first simulative study to show the postmortem cooling pattern of the head of an adult human. Our head model will prove useful to predict the cooling patterns of not only the outer ear but also of the entirety of the head.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalLegal Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Mar


  • Finite element model
  • Outer ear
  • Postmortem cooling
  • Simulation
  • Time of death


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