Tension pneumothorax, or collapsed lung, is estimated to be the cause of 3–4% of total combat fatalities [1] and is the second most common preventable cause of death on the battlefield behind hemorrhage [2]. Military personnel are taught to treat a collapsed lung in an emergency by needle decompression (thoracentesis), in which a needle is inserted into the thorax to allow the trapped air to escape.

In the design of a thoracentesis training tool, it is essential that the simulator produces the characteristic “pop” that occurs when the needle penetrates the pleura and enters the pleural cavity. The pop includes the resistance of the pleura to puncture followed by an audible hiss as the pressure releases. Current trainers use synthetic materials to simulate tissue, including the “pop” that occurs when the needle passes through the pleura and releases the trapped air. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines...

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