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    Default Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    So we're probably all familiar with various channels on Youtube that show weapons and their damaging potential on safe, roughly human analogous, targets. Lots of channels use Ballistic gel, Skallagrim uses a ballistic gel torso with fake ribs, Paul Harrel uses the Meat Target. However, I haven't seen anyone find one that seems to work for blunt force.

    Yes, Skall and several others have used the Zombie Head or some other hard object, but that only works for showing trauma to the head, not the ribs or chest. I've seen people, for comparative purposes, use a scale to show the level of force being exerted but that doesn't tell us much.

    So what would be a good target for helping to show the damage that a blunt instrument can cause to a human torso?
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    So we're probably all familiar with various channels on Youtube that show weapons and their damaging potential on safe, roughly human analogous, targets. Lots of channels use Ballistic gel, Skallagrim uses a ballistic gel torso with fake ribs, Paul Harrel uses the Meat Target. However, I haven't seen anyone find one that seems to work for blunt force.

    Yes, Skall and several others have used the Zombie Head or some other hard object, but that only works for showing trauma to the head, not the ribs or chest. I've seen people, for comparative purposes, use a scale to show the level of force being exerted but that doesn't tell us much.

    So what would be a good target for helping to show the damage that a blunt instrument can cause to a human torso?
    Watermelons. Watermelon rinds are very similar to human skin, if they shatter it means the body part got wrecked.

    Pig carcass is nearly identical to a human. Smash it and then show the broken bones.

    Ballistic gelatin with a brittle plastic skeleton inside.
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Watermelons. Watermelon rinds are very similar to human skin, if they shatter it means the body part got wrecked.
    Wait... really? That's kinda neat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Pig carcass is nearly identical to a human. Smash it and then show the broken bones.
    Ya, a pig carcass would be great but that is far too expensive for most of us to use. Might be able to get some bones though...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Ballistic gelatin with a brittle plastic skeleton inside.
    I was actually thinking of making a slab of Ballistic gel "muscle" and putting some pig rib bones inside to sort of BS a human ripcage section.
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    I was actually thinking of making a slab of Ballistic gel "muscle" and putting some pig rib bones inside to sort of BS a human ripcage section.
    If I recall, those'd have to be pretty fresh. Bones lose strength as they dry.

    The other question is ... do you pursue simulating damage to internal organs?

    Blunt force trauma isn't just about breaking bone without breaking the skin. You can rupture organs and people would bleed out internally...
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    If I recall, those'd have to be pretty fresh. Bones lose strength as they dry.

    The other question is ... do you pursue simulating damage to internal organs?

    Blunt force trauma isn't just about breaking bone without breaking the skin. You can rupture organs and people would bleed out internally...
    Cavitation in the gel, if they rupture that is considered organ damage?
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    If I recall, those'd have to be pretty fresh. Bones lose strength as they dry.

    The other question is ... do you pursue simulating damage to internal organs?

    Blunt force trauma isn't just about breaking bone without breaking the skin. You can rupture organs and people would bleed out internally...
    Fresh ish? I know a butcher so they'd be like a week old or so, so probably enough to mess with it a bit but not unduly. Or I could use green Oak wood I suppose.

    I would like to, yes, cuz that's a weird property of blunt trauma. Stabbing or slashing is readily apparent just off of depth of the cut, but I'd need like water balloons of something inside. Probably some reasonably durable surgical tubing or something filled with a liquid.

    Honestly not sure how to properly fake an organ.
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    The other problem with using pig carcasses besides time since slaughter is that the pig is very likely to be an adolescent and still growing. Age at slaughter in the US is generally around 6 months, which is roughly the age of sexual maturity, but the pig is still growing quite a bit. This will tend to lead to softer bones than in an adult, although your standard pig will be closing on on 300lbs by this age.
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    This will tend to lead to softer bones than in an adult, although your standard pig will be closing on on 300lbs by this age.
    5-6 months is a perfect time for bones. They're very similar in density to a human bone, as well as structure.

    The weight is ... well, that's only if you're using a whole pig. Which most folks won't, cause of the expense.

    But it'd be more accurate, as the bones would still be enveloped by fascia and connected via ligaments. Depending on the medium chosen, loose bones might move out of position.
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Mythbuster used to take a spine/neck piece from the pig when the wanted to test decapitation.

    The ribs you can buy should come with flesh attached, that's probably a positive in this scenario.

    Butcher should be able to provide you with (pig) kidney, liver and heart too. If so inclined. And referring to Mythbusters they did get stomachs and intestines but that was IIRC trickier.

    All that said, am not sure it will necessarily add to realism. Bags of red liquid suspended makes for a spectacular effects when showing slashing and stabbing.

    But I don't think you'll get any more accurate depiction of bluntforce trauma as it also depends on what I can only describe as a "pressurised system".

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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    I seem to remember the mythbusters also putting wooden ribs into gel torsos at some point?
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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I seem to remember the mythbusters also putting wooden ribs into gel torsos at some point?
    Not torsos. They used wooden dowels as leg/arm bone replicas. And I actually think it wasn't inside gel but to connect metal joints for some kind of Buster-doll application.

    That said, it's been awhile and they giht ahve snuck an experiment I missed.

    They used some kind of fake skeleton inside the gel a lot, I can't actually say what that is made out off. Mostly when they tested stuff with blunt forces they used G-force stickers as convenient.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2020-08-31 at 06:48 AM.

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    Default Re: Testing for damage with Blunt Force Trauma

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Watermelons. Watermelon rinds are very similar to human skin, if they shatter it means the body part got wrecked.
    Watermelon feels odd to me. It's so simple to just push a dull pointless knife into it and cut the whole thing open. Yeah I guess technically that dull knife could probably get me through someone's skin as well if they were willing to stand still for it, but I doubt I could cut through a torso the way I can carve through a torso sized watermelon.

    Coconuts are used as well. Usually the small hairy dried ones. In the terms of people who use them it's supposed to simulate the hardness of a skull. Although honestly I figure a real skull is probably harder than that. You can shatter a coconut by throwing it at the ground, humans will usually still be in one piece after you throw their head at the ground, even if they die from it. (Note: do not try this at home.) A fresh coconut might be a bit more of a reasonable approximation. (They're also harder to shop for in places with a temperate climate.) It has at least some of that fibery goodness pulling the whole thing together, and they usually survive dropping to the ground from quite large heights.

    In the end the best any of these tests can hope for is probably consistency. The model may be off a bit compared to a real human body, but if you correctly use the same model every time you could get a good idea of the difference between the different implements you use. Although for comparisons between different styles of weapons this will probably stay difficult, as some materials are simply much more vulnerable to either smashing or cutting than others.
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