Data for the force necessary to fracture the isolated calvaria (skull cap) are not available in the extant literature. Twenty dry adult calvaria were tested to failure quasistatically at the vertex using a 15-kN load cell. The forces necessary to fracture or cause diastasis of calvarial sutures were then documented and gross examination of the specimens made. Failure forces had a mean measurement of 2772 N. Initial fractures did not cross suture lines. Prior to complete destruction of the calvaria there were 7 specimens in which all sutures of the calvaria became diastatic, 6 specimens in which the calvaria became diastatic along only the coronal sutures, 2 specimens in which the calvaria became diastatic along only the sagittal suture and 5 specimens in which there were diagonal linear parietal bone fractures. Our hopes are that these data may contribute to the structural design of more safer protective devices for use in our society, assist in predicting injury and aid in the construction of treatment paradigms. Copyright © 2005 Via Medica.