# What is the maximum non-fatal force withstandable by a human being for a short period?

Assuming any (optimal) body orientation/position relative to the direction of force and mechanism of death.

I'd be interested in a rough estimate of threshold force and a suggested mechanism of death. A person experiencing a force just below this threshold should be able to survive for a few minutes.

To give more context the question derives from: 'How much centripetal acceleration is fatal?', or 'How fast and tight must a rollercoaster go to kill you?'.

I realise there may be some biological considerations for this question, but giving bounds on these seems within the remit of back-of-the-envelope physics.

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See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-G_training A rough guess is around 15G over around a minute. The part of the question that is "suggested mechanism of death" seems rather off topic tough. – Willie Wong Apr 20 '11 at 14:02
It looks like you may be using a definition of "force" that means "uniform whole-body acceleration", as opposed to the definition that is commonly accepted in physics. If you are in fact using the physical definition, you can withstand extremely large forces from relativistic impact if you're willing to lose the body parts that are hit. – Scott Carnahan Apr 21 '11 at 8:23
The mechanism of death is not off-topic; surely you would expire rather earlier from the bursting of blood vessels or heart attack than at the point where the body is simply crushed. Perhaps there is a physiological consideration that would prevent survival even though the body is relatively intact. – silasdavis Apr 21 '11 at 13:49
I believe I am using the standard definition of force. Given the context (strapped into a rollercoaster cart for example) you would exprience whole-body acceleration to which we may ascribe a force, in this case the centrifugal force the unfortunate rider seems to experience in their frame. – silasdavis Apr 21 '11 at 13:53
How you are supported will make a difference. If you are floating in a container of water, and the container is accelerated, you should be able to handle a lot more than if you are just sitting in a chair. – Mike Dunlavey Jul 24 '13 at 15:53