ELI5: If a small explosive like a firecracker were to go off in your hand, would your hand fare better if you gripped it tightly or loosely, and why?

ELI5: If a small explosive like a firecracker were to go off in your hand, would your hand fare better if you gripped it tightly or loosely, and why?

I thought I was a smart person, but I genuinely have no idea.

From the movie Armageddon, explaining the silly plot of sending oil drillers to an asteroid to drop a nuke down a hole to blow it up...

Ronald Quincy: [holds out his hand] Imagine a firecracker in the palm of your hand. You set it off, what happens? You burn your hand, right? You close your fist around the same firecracker,

[clenches his hand into a fist]

Ronald Quincy: and set it off. Your wife's gonna be opening your ketchup bottles the rest of your life.

I was going to say about the same thing as darkflash 26.

An explosion is something that occupies a certain amount of space, that is forced very rapidly to occupy more space. In so doing, it pushed on everything around it, starting with the air. The tighter you hold the explosive, the more the explosive will push your flesh and bones out of the way in random but mostly outward directions. The looser you hold it, the more the explosive force will contact the air and push it away. It's easier to push air than flesh and bone, so ventilation is the way to minimize damage.

"Minimize" is a relative term. You might lose two fingers instead of four, so researching this is a pretty stupid goal.

It adds nothing of value. It's not funny, entertaining, informative or otherwise valuable.

It's like saying "I went to school today" in this comment chain. People would be like, uhh good for you.


Source: did Red-Cross training in Germany (where people buy metric shit-tons of fireworks in the lead-up to New Year's Eve) in the 70s.

The educational slide show to go with this particular topic during our course made me ill...

Do NOT image-google "hand-injuries from firecrackers"!

EDIT: just remembered a juicy little bit from back then - drinking lemonade before doing the bang-bangs makes your palms sticky and you might not be able to toss the bugger ...

loosely because the force would be better able to dissipate, instead of putting all the energy into the closed fist, it can escape into the air. i am no expert, but thats my thought on the case.

I've done it before, I wrapped the firecracker in a plastic tube, then in thick cardboard, then held on to it tightly with a thick leather glove. I had expected the firecracker to shoot from the tube, it did not. I would not describe it as pain exactly, I felt the shockwave in my bones. I recommend not doing this. If you held it in your hand without protection it would definitely mess up your hand. they look small and innocent but are stronger than you would think.

The term used is brisance, by increasing the initial pressure of the explosion, you increase the effective power used in the detonation.

From experience, loose is less damaging. I've held small firecrackers by the the end, just enough to not drop it, I got some cuts and swelling but nothing permanent. Definitely didn't feel good.

I bet you did more harm than good by suggesting to not google that.