How a bug does not explode when swatted…


As the title says this is something that constantly is in my head… When I swat a bug with my hand and it still has the ability to fly away, why is that.


Cause if we take the same proportions and have a giant hand of same size compared to my hand vs the bug and hit me at the speed that I would swat a bug… I would most definitely explode and or die immediately on impact, no?


I like to imagine the titans from Attack on Titan, but you get the gist. If something of the same proportions of my hand to a fly, how would it not get obliterated?


Surely this is something someone has investigated and or thought about..

In: 0

Say you run into a wall. The reason it hurts is because the back of your body’s still moving forward and squishes your front into the wall.

A bug is much much smaller than you and experiences much less of this squishing.

As a bonus, the hand carries air with it which slows the bug relative to the hand before impact.

It’s for a lot of the same reasons that a bug can jump off a building and not get hurt, but if you jump off a building it will be very bad. If you manage to swat a flying bug (I’m ignoring bugs that you swish against a surface; those don’t tend to survive unless you hit them with a gap between your fingers or a cupped hand), the fact that it is tiny helps a lot. Because the bug is so light, it takes very little energy for the bug to start moving at the same speed as your hand. This energy usually won’t kill the bug, because smaller things tend to be proportionally stronger than bigger things.

This is because of the square cube law. Basically, how strong something is against bring crushed is related to its cross sectional area, while how much it weighs is related to its total volume (very approximately). Area grows proportional to the square of length, while volume grows proportional to the cube. X^3 grows faster than X^2.

So while the energy for a human to get accelerated up to titan-swat speed is pretty big compared to how tough we are, the energy for a bug to get accelerated to human swat speed is pretty low compared to how tough they are.