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February 27, 1943


JAMA. 1943;121(9):679-680. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840090049016

The mechanism of the effects of blast in water is that of a single wave of pressure, the reflected wave from the sea bottom being of little importance. The pressure wave in water travels at the same speed as it does at first in air. However, the rate of fall of pressure is much slower than in air and varies directly with the distance; hence pressure effects will be expected over much greater distance. Williams,1 in his Hunterian Lecture, pointed out that the human body has roughly the same density as water. When the pressure wave impinges on the water there will be no reflection, but the force will be transmitted through the tissues without displacement just as if the body were so much water. However, when the transmitted force encounters a cavity in the body containing air, for example the lungs, the static wave of pressure will change into