International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 19–25

A study considering the force required for broken glass bottles to penetrate a skin simulant


  • Gary Nolan
    • Department of EngineeringUniversity of Leicester
  • Simon Lawes
    • Department of EngineeringUniversity of Leicester
  • Sarah Hainsworth
    • Department of EngineeringUniversity of Leicester
    • East Midlands Forensic Pathology UnitUniversity of Leicester
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00414-011-0556-7

Cite this article as:
Nolan, G., Lawes, S., Hainsworth, S. et al. Int J Legal Med (2012) 126: 19. doi:10.1007/s00414-011-0556-7


Injuries and assaults related to alcohol consumption are a growing concern in many countries. In such cases, the use of impulsive weapons, an object from the immediate environment, such as a glass bottle, is not uncommon. This current study utilises a material testing system to measure the force required to push a broken glass bottle into a skin simulant with the displacement of the bottle into the skin simulant being recorded simultaneously, using a linear variable differential transformer (LVDT). From this data, load versus displacement plots were produced. Multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) was also used to analyse bottle wall thickness to determine if a relationship could be found between force required for penetration and bottle wall thickness. The forces required for the penetration of the skin simulant ranged from 9.8 to 56.7 N. The range was found to be independent of bottle type with the variation in force for penetration being attributed to the varying fracture points, with some fractures presenting a sharper point on first contact with the skin. Although the dangers associated with the use of broken bottles as weapons is apparent, there is a paucity of information in this area in the current English literature, which this study has addressed. The results of this study also highlight the risks of attempting reconstructions of broken bottle stab events.


ForensicGlassBottleForceAssaultStabComputed tomography

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011