If you’re a fan of action or sci-fi movies, then this article would catch your interest. In action movies, we, most of the time, see people fighting, mainly using various firearms. Ranging from handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, and many others, you name it.
Moreover, they also sometimes use grenades or other types of bombs. It means we get to see a lot of explosions in a movie, and they come with small bursts to massive blasts.
However, despite its incredible effects and beautiful display, there are a lot of misconceptions in the explosions we see in movies. Movie explosions are different from what we have in real life, and we could notice these differences whenever we watch movies with explosions.
Now our question is – are explosions lethal? If they are, then why do we see a person gets pushed by a blast without harming them?
How does an explosion work?
The first thing that we need to know is how an explosion work. Throughout the years, our planet experienced several explosions caused by humans. Especially during the first and second World Wars, wherein these explosions caused many casualties.
Because of these records, it is hard to say that explosions are not harmful. We often see in movies that when there is an explosion, the person will come flying into the air and then hit the ground. Surprisingly, the person still manages to stand up without seeking any medical assistance. These scenes look great, especially during heroic situations, although, these scenarios do not agree with science.
An explosion is a result of releasing large amounts of energy compressed inside a small chamber. For example, when you pull the lever of a grenade, its fuse will slowly burn down to the main charge containing the explosive material causing it to explode.
Once the grenade explodes, it will release massive amounts of energy outwards, breaking its outer shell and producing shockwaves. A shockwave is what pushes a person, and it is more than enough to harm a person’s body and potentially killing them.
With this said, there are a lot of movie scenes that are questionable to physics. Just getting hit by the shockwave of an explosion could cause adverse effects, mainly ear damage and possible deafening, and lung damage, causing them to gasp for air. These are some of the typical scenarios that might happen when a person gets hit by a shockwave, which is not present in most movies involving explosions. Keep in mind that these effects are only from shockwaves, and if a person gets caught by the blast, then that is a different story.
How does an explosion push a person away without harming them?
As mentioned earlier, it is nearly impossible for an explosion to push away a person without harming them since the shockwaves would most likely damage their ears and lungs.
However, we may come to ask, how do they do it in movies? We often see movies in different titles that have plenty of explosions, and surprisingly, there is no damage done to the actors. Furthermore, actors walking away calmly from an explosion in their background is a common sight in some movies.
There are a lot of misconceptions in this scenario. Mainly, a person cannot walk, or even stand up, if there’s an explosion at the back because of the strong shockwave that would push away the person.
With this said, how come we see it movies?
There are two types of explosions – detonation and deflagration.
What we see in grenades, as well as other exploding firearms like TNT and dynamite, is a detonating explosion. When a grenade explodes, it releases extreme pressure causing it to send out strong shockwaves.
Deflagration, on the other hand, is quite the opposite of detonating explosions. This type of explosion only has low pressure but with more burning. Deflagrating explosions are what we commonly see in movies, that is why actors do not feel any intense pressure caused by shockwaves – thus, not harming them.
Also, if we could notice, movie explosions caused a lot of fire and burning effects, which is not what we would see in a real-life scenario. For example, throwing a grenade to a car would not set the vehicle on fire. Instead, when the grenade explodes, it would be a quick blast destroying the car and burst out shrapnels and small parts from it. After the explosion, what’s left is an entirely unrecognizable car with no trace of fire whatsoever.