I've been teaching myself physics and I've been wondering about the impact time in collision calculations. The scenario I've been using to learn is an object with a mass of 4000 kilograms colliding with a human being, while travelling at 17m/s. The object has a surface area the size and shape of a human elbow (which I very roughly guesstimated to be around 20cm2.
When calculating the force of this impact I need the momentum and the duration of the impact. The momentum is easy enough to calculate, but how is the duration of impact worked out? I know that it isn't referring to how long the objects are in contact, as this would mean that swords would harmlessly rub against a person if they were swung. I assume then, that the time is referring to how long it takes one object to impart the force of it's momentum into the other object.
How am I supposed to do this? The obvious way is to measure it, but given I'm an art student I can't exactly go around driving cars into people to measure how long it takes them to react to the impact. So far I've just been using .1 seconds, but I feel like this is far too slow.