The influence of the counterfort while ballistic testing using gelatine blocks.

Schyma, C; Herr, Nicolas; Brünig, Julia; Brencicová, Eva; Müller, R (2017). The influence of the counterfort while ballistic testing using gelatine blocks. International journal of legal medicine, 131(5), pp. 1325-1332. Springer 10.1007/s00414-017-1623-5

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In wound ballistic research, gelatine blocks of various dimensions are used depending on the simulated anatomical region. When relatively small blocks are used as substitute for a head, problems with regard to the expansion of the gelatine block could arise. The study was conducted to analyse the influence of the material the gelatine block is placed upon. Thirty-six shots were performed on 12 cm gelatine cubes doped with thin foil bags containing acrylic paint. Eighteen blocks each were placed on a rigid table or on a synthetic sponge of 5 cm height. Deforming bullets with different kinetic energies were fired from distance and recorded by a high-speed video camera. Subsequently, the gelatine cubes were cut into 1 cm thick slices which were scanned using a flatbed scanner. Cracks in the gelatine were analysed by measuring the longest crack, Fackler's wound profile and the polygon (perimeter and area) outlining the ends of the cracks. The energy dissipated ranged from 153 to 707 J. For moderate energy transfer, no significant influence of the sustaining material was discerned. With increasing dissipated energy, the sponge was compressed correspondingly, and the cracks were longer than in gelatine blocks which had been placed on a table. High-speed video revealed a loss of symmetry and a flattened inferior margin of the temporary cavity with energies superior to approx. Two hundred Joules when the blocks were placed on a rigid platform. However, 12 cm gelatine cubes showed material limits by a non-linear response when more than 400 J were dissipated for both rigid and elastic sustainment. In conclusion, the smaller the gelatine blocks and the greater the energy transfers, the more important it is to take into account the counterfort of the sustaining material.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Lange-Herr, Nicolas, Brünig, Julia, Brencicová, Eva








Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

07 Aug 2017 12:39

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:29

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Energy transfer; High-speed video; Simulants; Temporary cavity; Wound ballistics




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