If humans cannot withstand a 9G acceleration, how come some Formula 1 drivers managed to walk away, with minor injuries, after impacts that are subsequently higher (eg, Verstappen and his 51G impact, and Grosjean’s 67G crash)?

62 views
0

If humans cannot withstand a 9G acceleration, how come some Formula 1 drivers managed to walk away, with minor injuries, after impacts that are subsequently higher (eg, Verstappen and his 51G impact, and Grosjean’s 67G crash)?

In: 6114

Humans can withstand 9g acceleration. Fighter pilots do it all the time. I think the most I’ve heard about was an F-14 pilot (and RIO) who pulled 12gs. The plane was damaged but the crew wasn’t (long term anyway).

You can’t survive *sustained* high g acceleration because your heart isn’t strong enough to pump against it and you pass out.

Very brief but intense acceleration events like an F1 car going for a ride into the wall don’t have this issue.

Those have a separate problem where your bones stop but your organs don’t, leading to the possibility of serious internal injuries.

If I’m not mistaken it’s doing it for a prolonged period of time. And it probably have to do with blood not being able to be pumped and bring oxygen to the brain. Hence why you can survive an instant shock, and pass out if you suffer 9g during tens of seconds.

It has to do with how long the acceleration last.

When you clap your hands, they get a 20 g shock. But that’s for a tiny fraction of a second. If you hang upside down you get virtually -1g, and that’s nothing, as long as it last little. If you stay upside down for a day you probably get sick.

9 g is the limit a trained pilot can handle during a sustained turn. And sustained means a minute, not an hour.

For impacts, 50 g as a transient shock is not that bad. It’s the same you get if you dive flat to the grass from 1 meter. The problem of a formula one pilot is that the 50g last a lot longer than your slamming the grass, it’s 50g and lasting enough to stop the vehicle. Most crash protections have 50g as a target, as 50g is still bearable. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It means you can recover.

Last, people tend to walk perfectly fine after a shock as the brain can’t process how bad it was. Some people stand up and walk on a broken leg, snap it and only they they realize they are hurt.

9g acceleration over a long period stops blood from getting to your brain. Your heart isn’t strong enough to pump against that amount of force. That is why people in planes sometimes pass out but wake back up when the g force lessens. A car crash like you are talking about is only experiencing those extremely high g forces for a second. That is not enough time to deprive the brain of oxygen to the point that you pass out and die.