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A "Blunt Puncture" Machine That Precisely Measures Condom Reliability

Illustration for article titled A Blunt Puncture Machine That Precisely Measures Condom Reliability

How do condom manufacturers do scientific tests on their wares? Using this machine, apparently, which imitates the circumstances under which "breakage" might occur.


According to the scientific paper from Contraception journal that describes this device:

Over a period of 7 years, broken condoms returned to a supplier (SSL, Durex) via consumer complaints were examined to determine the cause of failure. Also, some consumers who reported breakage but did not return condoms were sent a questionnaire on the causes of breakage. Finally, theories proposed for the mechanism of breakage were investigated on a laboratory coital model. RESULTS: Nearly 1000 (n=972) returned condoms made from natural rubber and polyurethane were examined. Visible features on those that were broken, were classified. Evidence combined from examining returns, questionnaire responses and the coital model strongly suggests a single predominant mechanism of failure we named "blunt puncture," where the tip of the thrusting male penis progressively stretches one part of the intact condom wall until it ultimately breaks.


I love that this machine is called a "coital model." I feel like there might be an aftermarket for it on eBay.


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Ed Grabianowski

What I'm curious about is: how did they measure the "thrust" of an actual human performing that motion, so they'd know what psi to set their pneumatic thruster at?