Ballistic gelatin dummy with resistant skin

Human tissue simulant more accurately replicates the resistance of the skin to ballistic penetration


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Photo: Nathan Boor & Kurt Groover of Aimed Research

Mannequins are routinely used in combat training exercises and to better simulate the human body when scientists are performing bullet penetration tests. Nominal 10% ordnance gelatin is considered to be the most accurate human tissue simulant and it is the material seen occasionally on the television show Myth Busters. However, this type of simulant does not replicate the significant resistance that human skin provides in preventing penetration into sub-dermal tissue. Some mannequins incorporate a skin-like cover and pig skin has been used for this purpose but these have wide variations in the skin characteristics and present hygiene concerns. Natural rubber can be used, but it is not a consistently good skin simulant because of variations in raw materials.

Navy researchers have advanced the state-of-the-art with a skin and tissue simulant incorporating a gelatin composite core and an ether-based cast polyurethane sheet acting as the skin layer. Calibration is done by firing round pellets from a pump air rifle at 591 feet per second (FPS) into the mannequin thus penetrating to a depth of 3.2 to 3.5 inches. The ether based poly sheet is spec’d for elasticity, tensile strength, durometer harness, and thickness.

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