Eli5: Why is ballistic gel used for human analogues on so many shows when it looks like you could just push your finger easily into it?



Like, I couldn’t just push my finger in and easily pierce a person’s torso, so why is it deemed a good material for human analogue testing?

In: Biology

Because you can’t push your finger into it. It really is the best analog for human flesh. It is rubbery and has enough texture to it

You cannot easily push your finger into it.

If you could then it’d totally disintegrate when hit or it’d melt outdoors.

It’s got the general consistency of muscle. So it does jiggle, but you would probably not be able to push your finger through it, at least not easily.

Think of how a big hunk of steak feels (or even your butt at rest), it’s pretty jiggly and squishy, but you’d have a hell of a time piercing it just just a finger.

The gel doesn’t account for skin though (which is designed to resist some piercing), so that is a more significant difference.

It’s a great analogue for human muscle, but that’s about it. It doesn’t do well replicating skin, as skin has an elasticity that muscle doesn’t have. Unless it’s a really well made dummy, it also won’t account for the structure of bones and organs. It’s main use is to see what kind of damage something would do to human muscle, and how the muscle would react. For example, stabbing ballistic gel with different blades or objects can help identify what object a victim was stabbed with.

Remember when you see it wobble and jiggle like jello it’s just been hit by a baseball bat swinging hard enough to crush bone or been shot by a bullet that would cause the same effects in your body or had some other damage done to it in a way that would likely kill you.

If you watch a video of someone handling the stuff you’ll see that it’s super dense and handles more like rubber then like jello.

So it seems like the fact that I’ve pretty much only ever seen the stuff in under the rigors of extreme trauma testing has given me a false impression of it being much more “jelly” than it really is.

Ok cool, I accept that answer. Thanks.