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Skip Navigation LinksHome > September 2012 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 > Does a Sixth Mechanism Exist to Explain Lightning Injuries?:...
American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31822d319b
Original Articles

Does a Sixth Mechanism Exist to Explain Lightning Injuries?: Investigating a Possible New Injury Mechanism to Determine the Cause of Injuries Related to Close Lightning Flashes

Blumenthal, Ryan MBChB, MMed*; Jandrell, Ian R. PrEng, BSc(Eng) GDE PhD, FSAIEE, MIEEE; West, Nicholas J. BSc(Eng)Elec, MSC Eng(Electrical), PhD, MSAIEE

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Abstract

Abstract: Five mechanisms have been described in the literature regarding lightning injury mechanisms. A sixth mechanism is proposed in this article, namely, lightning barotrauma. A simple laboratory experiment was conducted using ordnance gelatin for ballistic studies. Lightning was simulated in a high-voltage laboratory using an 8/20-microsecond current impulse generator and discharged through ballistic gel. Temporary and permanent cavity formations were confirmed. The cavities formed were directly proportional to the currents used. Findings suggest that a sixth mechanism of lightning injury, namely, barotrauma, should be considered.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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