Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Effect of ageing on the calibration of ballistic gelatin
  1. Jason Guey1,
  2. S Rodrigues1,
  3. A Pullen1,
  4. B Shaw1 and
  5. D C Kieser2
  1. 1 Defence Technology, Medical Corps, New Zealand Defence Force, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2 Department of Orthopaedics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to D C Kieser, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand; kieserdavid{at}, kieserdavid{at}


Purpose Ballistic gelatin is commonly used as a validated surrogate for soft tissue during terminal ballistic testing. However, the effect of a delay between production and testing of a gelatin mould remains unknown. The aim of this study was to determine any potential effects of ageing on ballistic gelatin.

Methods Depth of penetration (DoP) of 4.5 mm spherical fragment simulating projectiles was ascertained using mixtures of 10%, 11.25% and 20% Type A 250 Bloom ballistic gelatin. Testing was performed daily for 5 days using velocities between 75 and 210 m/s. DoP at day 5 was statistically compared with day 1, and net mass change was recorded daily.

Results No significant difference was found for DoP observed with time in any of the samples (P>0.05). Spearman correlation was excellent in all moulds. The moulds with known standard calibrations remained in calibration throughout the study period. Mass loss of less than 1% was noted in all samples.

Conclusion Mass loss was the only quantifiable measure of changes in the blocks with time, but did not correlate with any changes in DoP. This may provide reassurance when undertaking such testing that an inadvertent delay will not significantly alter the penetration properties of the mould. Future research is recommended to determine any potential effect on the mechanical properties of gelatin at higher velocity impacts and whether the calibration corresponds to an adequate simulation under such conditions.

  • Ordnance
  • gelatin
  • ballistic
  • age
  • fragment simulating projectile
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors All authors contributed equally to this project.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.