In lithic analysis, a subdivision of archaeology, a bulb of applied force (also known as a bulb of percussion or simply bulb of force) is a defining characteristic of a lithic flake. When a flake is detached from its parent core, a portion of the Hertzian cone of force caused by the detachment blow is detached with it, leaving a distinctive bulb on the flake and a corresponding flake scar on the core. Bulbs of applied force may be distinctive, moderate, or diffuse, depending upon the force of the blow used to detach the flake, and upon the type of material used as a fabricator. Generally, the harder the material used as a fabricator, the more distinctive the bulb of applied force.
- ^ Cotterell, Brian & Johan Kamminga 1987. The formation of flakes, American Antiquity, 52:675-708.