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April 10, 1943


JAMA. 1943;121(15):1220-1221. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840150034010

The basic experiments of Hooker and of Zuckerman demonstrated that the effects on the body of explosions both in air and in water are primarily due to the externally applied pressure wave. Williams1 observed that pressures set up by an explosion at some depth in water create a new factor. When the pressure wave reaches the surface, transmission of the pulse to air does not occur but there is reflection as a wave of tension at an angle equal to the angle of incidence. The human body, according to Williams, has roughly the same density as water. When the pressure wave impinges on the body reflection does not follow but the pulse will be transmitted through the tissues without displacement just as if the body were so much water. However, when the transmitted pulse encounters an air cavity in the body as, for example, the lungs, the static wave