International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 129, Issue 3, pp 505–510 | Cite as

Development of a skull/brain model for military wound ballistics studies

  • Debra CarrEmail author
  • Anne-Christine Lindstrom
  • Andreas Jareborg
  • Stephen Champion
  • Neil Waddell
  • David Miller
  • Michael Teagle
  • Ian Horsfall
  • Jules Kieser
Original Article


Reports on penetrating ballistic head injuries in the literature are dominated by case studies of suicides; the penetrating ammunition usually being .22 rimfire or shotgun. The dominating cause of injuries in modern warfare is fragmentation and hence, this is the primary threat that military helmets protect the brain from. When helmets are perforated, this is usually by bullets. In combat, 20 % of penetrating injuries occur to the head and its wounding accounts for 50 % of combat deaths. A number of head simulants are described in the academic literature, in ballistic test methods for helmets (including measurement of behind helmet blunt trauma, BHBT) and in the ‘open’ and ‘closed’ government literature of several nations. The majority of these models are not anatomically correct and are not assessed with high-velocity rifle ammunition. In this article, an anatomically correct ‘skull’ (manufactured from polyurethane) and ‘brain’ (manufactured from 10 %, by mass, gelatine) model for use in military wound ballistic studies is described. Filling the cranium completely with gelatine resulted in a similar ‘skull’ fracture pattern as an anatomically correct ‘brain’ combined with a representation of cerebrospinal fluid. In particular, posterior cranial fossa and occipital fractures and brain ejection were observed. This pattern of injury compared favourably to reported case studies of actual incidents in the literature.


Helmet High velocity Bullet Rifle Penetrating 



A-CL acknowledges an equipment grant from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Miss E. Girvan (Otago Centre for Electron Microscopy) assisted with the EDS analysis. This work was internally funded by The Impact and Armour Group at Cranfield University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debra Carr
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne-Christine Lindstrom
    • 2
  • Andreas Jareborg
    • 2
  • Stephen Champion
    • 3
  • Neil Waddell
    • 2
  • David Miller
    • 1
  • Michael Teagle
    • 1
  • Ian Horsfall
    • 1
  • Jules Kieser
    • 2
  1. 1.Impact and Armour Group, Centre for Defence Engineering, Cranfield Defence and SecurityCranfield University, Defence Academy of the United KingdomWiltshireUK
  2. 2.Sir John Walsh Research Institute, University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.Weapons and Vehicle Systems Group, Centre for Defence Engineering, Cranfield Defence and SecurityCranfield University, Defence Academy of the United KingdomWiltshireUK

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