Egg yolks reveal why a punch to the chin is most brutal, as researchers say that they finally understand why it leaves the brain scrambled.
Scientists at Villanova University experimented on eggs in order to show the far greater damage caused to the brain by rotational force than other types.
They found that translational impact – the motion by which an object shifts from one point to another – is significantly less damaging than rotational impact, which is the result of an angled impact.
While translational impact did not make the yolk deformed, rotational impact caused “tremendous” damage and forced the yolk to become very narrow.
This explains why boxers are most likely to faint when they are hit on the chin, which causes the highest rotational acceleration and deceleration of the head because it is the furthest point from the neck.
“There are different kinds of research going on and we wanted to help visualise what is going on with concussion,” said Dr Qianhong Wu, one of the co-authors of the study.
“In the brain, you have a soft material in a liquid environment enclosed in the heart of the skull, so we used an egg because of its similar structure.
“We suspect that rotational, especially decelerational rotational, impact is more harmful to brain matter. The large deformation of brain matter during this process induces the stretch of neurons and causes the damage.”
The study, which the researchers say is the first of its kind, was published in the journal Physics of Fluids.