Historical overview of wound ballistics research

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Ballistics involves the study of the scientific properties of projectiles, their behavior and their terminal effects on biological tissues and other materials. Wound ballistics deals with the analysis of injuries caused by projectiles and the behavior of projectiles within human or other biological tissues. The nineteenth century witnessed the development of both of these areas with Kocher's hydrodynamic theory and the understanding of the significance of bullet deformation in causing tissue injury. The degree of traumatic disruption of tissues and organs was also related to direct energy transfer from projectiles. While subsequent research has concentrated on elucidating further mechanisms of injury, the exact cause of remote tissue damage from high energy projectiles is still the subject of ongoing research. Much of the contemporary literature regarding wound ballistics concentrates on the forensic aspects and their application for legal purposes, in particular the investigation of shooting scenes. There have been many advances in this area, particularly in relation to the identification of various types of gunshot wounds and how their appearance can be used to establish if a shooting was accidental, deliberate (homicidal) or self inflicted (suicidal).

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