How To Survive A Grenade Blast

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In this interesting video, YouTubers Mark Rober and BackyardScientist teamed up to answer these simple questions: Are grenades deadlier on land or under water? And what can you do to maximize your chances of survival?



Grenades are potentially deadly explosive devices that are typically off-limits to anyone except military personnel. They are normally designed to fit perfectly in the palm of the hand. Most of them involve a pin trigger system to ignite the fuse, which causes the explosion. The only thing that the soldier needs to do to cause the explosion is pull out the pin out from the grenade (and throw it).

When the explosion occurs on land, the metal shell shatters and pieces are projected outwards at very high velocity. Since there is much less drag force in air, there is almost no resistance as the pieces fly towards you. Your only option in this scenario is to decrease your exposed body surface to a minimum. Moving as fast as possible, lie face down with your feet facing directly towards the explosion. At a distance of 5 meters, this position gives you a fantastic 99% chance of dodging a shell hit.



If you are underwater however, things change completely. The chances of dodging a shell hit are 100%, because the drag force in water is so high that the shell pieces would be brought to a halt by the water before they could travel 5 meters. But the shells are not the only reason why grenades are so deadly. The determining factor is the explosion shockwave and the impact that the shockwave has on a target. When an explosion occurs underwater, the shockwave compresses the air inside our bodies in a brutal manner, completely destroying our lungs. The parts of the body that are void of air, like the arms and legs, will remain unharmed.

So assuming the blast from both hand grenades was identical in strength and that you were the same distance from either blast, the underwater explosion would actually be far more deadly. So if the grenade drops in the water and you are in the water, get out as fast as humanly possible.

Note however that jumping into water to avoid an open air blast would be a very good idea – if you can move quickly enough.



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