The Loh Down On Science

Beer Bottles

Why it's better get hit over the head with a full beer bottle.

Is it better to get clonked on the head with a full beer bottle or an empty one?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, asking, are those my only choices?

It's true that beer bottles are the weapon of choice in most bar-brawls, at least the ones you see in movie Westerns.

So a team of forensic pathologists from the University of Bern in Switzerland decided to find out: Which does more damage, full or empty? To get their answer, they dropped one-kilogram steel balls from various heights onto full or empty bottles. They then measured the force needed to shatter each.

Results? It took more force to break the empty, 40 joules, versus 30 for the full.

Even worse news? Some parts of your skull will splinter under just 14 joules of force. Which means don't try this at home, kids. Your head will pretty much always be the loser in any skull-versus-bottle scenario.

Particularly if your head happens to be empty! Ba dump-bump!


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