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  1. Killer300

    Killer300 Senior Member

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    Effect of a Heavy Book

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Killer300, Nov 5, 2019.

    Specifically, if you were to swing a massive textbook at full strength, would it break upon hitting someone's skull? Assume a thick high school textbook, that looks like one of these:

    [​IMG]

    And, if it doesn't break, could it shatter someone's jaw? Break their nose? Basically, how bad is this to be on the receiving end of as a blunt weapon?

    I ask this because a character, from side effects of an experimental drug, ends up smashing a bully's face with a textbook, and continues to until the book breaks. Well, that, and I feel like big heavy books like this are something a lot more characters will have access to compared to say, a gun, or even a knife, depending on the context.
     
  2. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    If your character keeps hitting him with the rim, his face will probably break before the rim.

    A good smack from a heavy textbook isn't likely going to knock anyone out usually. You could easily break the bully's nose though. At the right angle, it could likely dislocate a jaw, but not break it. Could bust a few teeth as well.
     
  3. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    I read that prisons don't like heavy books in their libraries because inmates can drop them in a pillow case and then club someone with them. Sort of a very literate flail. (From Hell's dark heart, I smite thee!) The trick is the leverage, I think.
     
  4. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The spine would crack axially, if the attacker had hold of only half the book, say. Same if he threw it. But if he's holding the whole volume and using it as a blunt instrument, no.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  5. Richach

    Richach Active Member

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    I am thinking that if you hit someone with a heavy text book about the head they are likely to suffer an internal bleed. The effect is not likely to be immediate. A fist /elbow / knee would do more immediate damage as they are bone wrapped in flesh. I think seven crowns is right, using a text book to beat someone with would be better wrapped in a bag or pillowcase etc. Otherwise the cover would tear somehow and the pages would fall out. Although taking the trouble to wrap it would mean it would have been premeditated.

    I would presume that a bully is more likely to use a text book as a weapon as they would care little for the content and how much they cost!

    Sorry just me thinking aloud! I like your angle on this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  6. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My copy of The New Encyclopedia of the American West (Howard R Lamar) would fell an elephant, if aimed correctly. It actually weighs 7 lbs, and has sharp corners.
     
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  7. Killer300

    Killer300 Senior Member

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    For hitting angle, I'm picturing the cover of the book hitting the bully's face, either on the nose or jaw. For why, I think that's an easier angle to hit with, and it maximizes the surface area that could hit the bully's face.
     
  8. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member

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    Presumably, the effect would be about the same as a piece of wood approximately the same mass hitting you upside the head.
     
  9. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Contributor Contributor

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    this is true. at work, when we take books to the county jail, they tell us to only deliver paperback books.
     
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  10. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Contributor Contributor

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    With enough force, even a kleenex box and split someones face (literally). I read an interview with a teenager who was in a car crash, the kleenex box was launched with enough force that when it hit her, it split her face down the middle.
    I can only imagine what a full grown human swinging a 2.5-5IB, hardcover book.
     
  11. Cilogical

    Cilogical Member

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    It takes a lot of force to fracture someone’s skull. I don’t think a heavy book being swung at a person would generate enough force. If it was dropped from height, then potentially it might.

    It would likely cause blunt force tissue trauma though i.e. wounds, bleeding, etc. And as others have mentioned with the correct angle could fracture the nose. Not too sure about dislocating a jaw.
     
  12. AnimalAsLeader

    AnimalAsLeader Member

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    You can actually punch a whole into the skull of a person. The force applied is proportional to the amount of kinetic energy per square centimetre. So, if you hit with a small surface - e.g. a corner of the book (and it's hardcover) - you could probably do some serious damage. The trick is more to get enough Newtons behind the book...
     
  13. Cilogical

    Cilogical Member

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    I don’t think you can. The scientific literature suggests that you’d need to generate between 1000-5000 Newton’s for a true skull fracture to occur. In 16 years of frontline work I’ve never seen, nor heard of a skull fracture occurring from simply being punched or being hit with the corner of a book. It just doesn’t generate enough force and the skull is much stronger than the human hand. The hand would break before the skull would.

    One punch murders are usually because the victim has been knocked unconscious and fallen, hitting their head on the ground. Even then they don’t always fracture their skull - they sustain a brain injury yes, but not a fracture.
     
  14. AnimalAsLeader

    AnimalAsLeader Member

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    @Cilogical look for a guy called Ramsay Dewey. He is an ex-MMA fighter and suffered a skull-fracture in a match. I think he has a YT video on how that happened.

    The "scientific literature" on fighting is pretty lacking, tbh. The forces that are "required" to do XYZ usually don't conform with the things you actually see in fights.
     
  15. Cilogical

    Cilogical Member

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    Ramsey Dewey suffered a skull fracture because his opponent had loaded wraps. He even writes on his blog....

    “Ordinarily, if a non-reinforced fist collides with a forehead, the hand will break long before the cranium sustains any damage. The human hand is made up of 27 small fragile bones, whereas the cranium is one hard, dense, curved bone designed to deflect and withstand impact in order to protect the brain.”

    The scientific literature is about mechanism of injury (blunt force trauma) & forces involved to actually fracture. It’s not about “fighting”.
     
  16. AnimalAsLeader

    AnimalAsLeader Member

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    I never said anything about bare fist. I just gave you an example of a fractured skull through punching in the head when you said you dont think its possible. It is rare, but possible.
     
  17. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Was watching The Bourne Ultimatim last night again and came across this scene which semi-applied to this thread for fun.

    Fighting with a book starts at about the two minute mark.

     
  18. Cilogical

    Cilogical Member

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    You gave me an example of a skull fracture occurring as a result of being hit by someone wearing the equivalent of a knuckle duster on their hand. That’s not punching; that’s using a weapon to inflict damage. It’s not possible without using a weapon of some sort, or the victim falling.
     
  19. AnimalAsLeader

    AnimalAsLeader Member

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    You actually did look into Ramsey's story, but you chose to ignore that he mentions other incidents as well, one of which was repeated elbow strikes to the head (and an elbow doesn't do nearly as much damage as a fist), and another one from one (!) flying knee. It also happened during a fight between Fallon Fox and Tamikka Brents, where the transgender athlete hit Tamikka in the head, causing her skull to fracture.

    Nobody is saying it's easy to do, but it has happened, with various techniques, not involving any "weapons". It's definetely doable.
     
  20. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Active Member

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    Usually when I hear of pillowcases or socks with objects in them they are rocks or pool/billard balls. Never thought of a book... cool idea!
     
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