Lasers and other heat-based weapons in sci-fi are often misrepresented in how they deal damage. A common reaction to heat based weapons like lightsabers, laser rifles and plasmaweapons is to say they cauterize the wound by themselves. However having undergone a medical procedure with a heat-based cuttingtool the tool did not cauterize the wound, it bled immensely until the end of the procedure where they lowered the temperature and used heat over an extended period of time to actually cauterize the wound with the same instrument. Now such a small tool does not mean that a sci-fi heat weapon would not cauterize, but it does bring doubt that just because its heat-based that it will cauterize. And any information I found on the subject was either an echo-chamber or unclear about how it would really do against human flesh. I looked at plasma-cutting wounds for example but they are almost always pictures of secondary burns (in both senses) or people burning things like processed meat.
The weapon one of my characters is about to get hit with will vaporize a sizeable amount of meat somewhere on their torso through one pulsed blast, and I want to see what kind of wound this would realistically leave. My current idea looks like this:
- the laser vaporizes the skin and some meat below, creating essentially an explosion.
- the meat that isnt vaporized is burned and charred. This portion will expand due to the heat and tighten the area as it has few places to go. This would cauterize the wound were it not for the water. The water inside is boiled and creates rips and tears in the burned area as it expands and escapes. Further movement will likely break the more brittle charred area and cause more rips and tears.
- beyond the 3rd degree burn section there is a second and first degree burn as the heat tapers off.
- the shockwave from the explosion rips and tears the burned section as it is being burned. The shockwave goes deeper and causes bloodvessles to burst while bruising any tissue it comes across. The blood that isnt left to pool internally will find its way through the rips and tears made in the burned sections, causing the wound to bleed.
Now this is my guess and I have nothing really to support it. So my question is: can anyone give a credible account of what would really happen here?
Keep in mind that most heat-based wounds in our modern day do not vaporize parts of the flesh and are from longer exposures.