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Surface damage from perpendicular and oblique bullet impacts in stone

Campbell, Oliver, Blenkinsop, Tom ORCID:, Gilbert, Oscar and Mol, Lisa ORCID: 2022. Surface damage from perpendicular and oblique bullet impacts in stone. Royal Society Open Science 9 (7) , 220029. 10.1098/rsos.220029

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Controlled experiments were conducted to investigate the surface damage caused by perpendicular and oblique impacts of bullets into sandstone and limestone targets. Individual bullets fired in conditions simulating modern rifles at typical combat distances excavated craters with diameters from 22 to 74 mm and depths from 3 to 24 mm. Limestone target craters were up to twice as large and deep as those in sandstone. These craters have a complex shape consisting of a central excavation surrounded by a shallow dish, compared to the simple bowl shape of most sandstone impacts. Radial fractures extending to the edge of the target block were common in limestone targets. Impacts at an angle of 45° to the surface in both rock types result in asymmetric craters. Two common types of intermediate cartridge (ammunition) were compared: the steel-tipped 5.56 × 45 mm NATO projectile generally produced larger and deeper craters than the 7.62 × 39 mm projectile that is commonly fired from AK-47 rifles, despite having approximately half the mass of the latter. These results characterize the sort of damage that can be expected at many sites of cultural significance involved in contemporary conflict zones, and have important implications for their conservation: for example building stone with low tensile strength is likely to sustain more damage and be at risk of greater deterioration.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: The Royal Society
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 20 June 2022
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 17:28

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