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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Injury potential of thrown sharp kitchen and household utensils

Sarah Schaerli, Richard Schulz, Dominic Gascho, Markus Enders, Sandra Baumann, Michael J Thali, Stephan A Bolliger
Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology 2018, 14 (1): 31-41
29197948
We examined the possibility of inflicting serious injuries with sharp objects in an experimental setting by throwing four sharp objects from different distances and with different throwing techniques. Using an overarm-handle (OA/H), overarm-blade (OA/B), underarm-handle (UA/H), underarm-blade (UA/B) and thrust (T/H) throwing technique, 10 adults (sex ratio 1:1) threw a chef's knife, a skinning knife, a paring knife and office scissors from 4 m and 2 m distance at synthetic abdomen models made of 10% gelatin covered with synthetic skin. The amount of hits and penetrations of the target and their penetration depth were noted, as was the rotation of the blade tip towards the target along its flight trajectory. The chef's knife injury/hit ratio was 0.167/4 m and 0.160/2 m; the skinning knife recorded an injury/hit ratio of 0.087/4 m and 0.153/2 m; the paring knife of 0.087/4 m and 0.113/2 m; and the scissors 0.087/4 m and 0.067/2 m. Mean penetration depths were as follows: the chef's knife: 4 m, 4.42 cm, 2 m, 3.41 cm; the skinning knife: 4 m, 4.19 cm, 2 m, 4.11 cm; the paring knife: 4 m, 1.62 cm, 2 m, 1.55 cm; and the scissors: 4 m, 2.08 cm, 2 m, 0.95 cm. Handle-throw penetration-depths were: 4 m: 3.77 cm and 2 m: 2.86 cm; blade-throw depths were: 4 m: 3.14 cm and 2 m: 2.69 cm. Overarm-throw penetration-depths were: 4 m: 3.62 cm and 2 m: 3.25 cm; and underarm-throw penetration-depths were 4 m: 3.30 cm and 2 m: 2.30 cm. No thrust-throws with the paring knife and scissors could pierce the target. The tips pointed toward the target at angles of 60°-120°, earlier in handle-throws than blade-throws, especially with the paring knife and the scissors. When thrown, especially with a handle-held technique, heavier objects pierced more often and more deeply. Thrust-throws at short distances are unlikely to pierce a human.

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