How Airbag Works – All you need to know

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The car industry is one of the most evolving industry nowadays. Now we are living a sophisticated life. But with the rapid increase of automobiles, the number of the accident also increased. You can see the news of accident everyday media. That’s why passenger safety is the most priority for car Manufacturing Company.

When it comes to the safety of passenger one name comes to mind “Airbag”. It is a revolutionary feature ever invented in the transportation industry.

After hearing this word several questions comes to mind. What is Airbag, How it works, like a ton?

In this article, I am going to cover all the things related to Airbag. So let’s go

What is an Airbag?

An Airbag is a type of safety device fitted into the vehicles. It is a balloon-like shape designed to inflate quickly and protect passengers from the collision of the vehicle. It is also known as the supplementary restraint system(SRS).

Airbags act as a cushion and restrict the head and chest from hitting the hard surfaces of the dashboard in the car.

Who invented Airbag?

If you search online who invented Airbag, you’ll find different people are credited with inventing airbags. But the credit goes to John W. Hetrick of Pennsylvania in 1951.  It was granted a US patent #2,649,311 by the United States Patent Office on 18 August 1953.

Although a German engineer named Walter Linderer filed an airbag patent a few months before Hetrick, it was granted after Hetrick’s. You can find more history of Airbag from Wikipedia.

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How Airbags works

Airbag systems mainly consist of multiple sensors, a control unit. When a car hits something, it starts to decelerate very rapidly, means it loses its speed.

One of the sensors in Airbag is an accelerometer. An accelerometer is a device that measures acceleration. It suddenly comes into action and detects the change of speed.

Other sources like wheel speed sensors are monitored by the airbag control unit. When a specific condition is detected the control unit triggers the Airbag. Normal speed deceleration doesn’t generate enough force to do this.

How airbag works

Every Airbag contains chemical propellants and initiator devices that are capable of igniting the propellants.

When specific condition detected by the control unit it sends a signal to activate initiator devices. The chemical propellants are ignited then the Airbag filled with Nitrogen or Argon gas.

The inflation of Airbag takes between 20- 30 milliseconds. It takes less than half-time for us to blink an eye, which requires between 100 and 200 milliseconds.

The motion energy of the passengers is fully absorbed by the Airbags. It is a onetime use device because all the chemical propellants were burned to inflate the bag.

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Types of Airbags

Most people think that Airbag has no specific types and it only available for front side of the driver. This is true for the old cars that are designed to save the driver and only gives an airbag that deploys from the dashboard and steering wheel of a vehicle.

But the motor industry has evolved a lot and now you can find many types of Airbags. Here are some of the common types of airbags.

Front Airbags – This is the most common type of airbag and can fount in all modern cars. Usually, there are 2 front airbags are there. One is for driver and another one is for the passenger sitting in the front seat.

In the United States, all cars should have dual front airbags and it’s mandated. During the collision, the driver’s front airbag comes from the steering wheel, and the passenger’s airbag (who is sitting on the front seat) deploys from the dashboard.

Some cars have weight sensors that detect the weight of the passenger and deploys the airbag accordingly. If a child is sitting on the front seat then the car will not deploy airbag in order to save the child from airbag’s force injury.

Side airbags – Side airbags usually situated in the seat or the door. These types of airbags reduce the risk of head injuries during side-impact crashes. This also helps when the vehicle begins to roll after a collision.

Knee airbags – Many automakers like Toyota gives knee airbags to reduce injury and improve safety. These airbags are usually situated just underneath the steering wheel and the glove compartment. It can protect both driver or passenger from suffering knee injuries and stop knees from hitting the hard surface.

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Airbags are may be dangerous to small children and people who are seated too close to the steering wheel or dash when an accident happens. It won’t provide any support for them. Many people were killed due to some defect in the Airbag system.

From the above discussion, you now know how an airbag works and how many types of airbags are there.

However, this technology saves thousands of lives in the last decade. This is a remarkable life-saving technology. No doubt it will also save lives in feature also.

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