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Kunz, S. N.; Tutsch-Bauer, E.; Graw, M. and Adamec, J. (2016): Tonkrugschläge gegen den Schädel. Biomechanische Aspekte des 0,5-l-Tonkrugs als Schlagwaffe. In: Rechtsmedizin, Vol. 26, No. 3: pp. 189-196

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The forensic biomechanical assessment of injuries resulting from blows with beer steins plays an important role in southern parts of Germany and in Austria, especially during the annual autumn festivals. In this context, forensic experts are often faced with the question of the injury potential of this special form of physical violence. This article deals with the forensic and biomechanical aspects of head injuries caused by blows with a beer stein. The relationship between the type and severity of injuries as well as the intensity and execution form of blows were investigated. In this study 30 brand new 0.5 l beer steins from 3 different breweries were analyzed in terms of potential risk of injuries when used as a blunt force weapon and the fragmentation behavior. The beer steins were manually wielded and used to hit a model dummy skull (aluminium core of a Hybrid III head form) with a silicon scalp, which was fixed onto a measuring plate. The contact force and speed of the stein were measured immediately before impact. The dynamics and fragmentation behavior were recorded with an Olympus iaEuroSpeed 3 high-speed digital camera with a Nikon AF Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8D lens and analyzed using the Olympus iaEurospeed 3 viewer software. This series of experiments showed that the impact speed and the contact surface of beer steins have a significant influence on the fragmentation behavior, the energy transferred and thus on the injury potential. The underlying principles of the fragmentation behavior of beer steins allow tentative conclusions to be drawn for reconstruction of the event leading to the fragmentation. Blows to the head of a person using a beer stein are fundamentally capable of inflicting life-threatening injuries. A forensic biomechanical assessment of injuries caused by beer steins should be carried out only after collating all information relating to the course of events. Comparative investigations can be necessary.

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