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What is the airbag and how it works?

What is the airbag and how it works?

The airbag it is one of passive safety. It is intended to reduce the negative consequences of an accident for the driver of the vehicle and its passengers. Like any passive safety system (SRS), the airbag is activated if the active system (brake) has not helped to avoid an accident. Outwardly it resembles an elastic dome filled with air (gas). The configuration helps the system to mitigate the impact of an accident. It is effective in conjunction with seat belts.

Recently, airbags have decided to equip not only drivers of cars, but also cyclists with motorcyclists. Airbags are sewn into the clothes of fans of motorsport and bike rides. A power cord for activation and a cartridge with compressed gas are attached to the system. The shell, filled with air, reliably protects the head, spine and internal organs of the person behind the wheel from injuries. The invention was patented by the Hungarian inventor Straub Tamash.

History of the origin of the “airbag”

The first mention of the airbag dates back to the mid-twentieth century. Simultaneously, without knowing about each other’s experiments, John Hetrick (America) and Walter Linderer (Germany) decided to patch the airbag. Both inventors came to the idea of using compressed air (gas). The first devices were imperfect, they were slowly launched and did not provide complete safety on the roads. The invention was then recognized as unprofitable and inefficient.

The situation with the slow filling of the pillow was saved by a pyro cartridge – a pyrotechnic source of high-pressure gas, and inventor Yasuzoburo Kobori. The Japanese came to the conclusion that the elastic bag should be filled not with ordinary air, but with the products of combustion of gases – poisonous and dangerous. Therefore, the “gas bag” appeared in the first car “Ford Taunu” only in the 70’s. Install the airbags serially started on the cars line “Oldsmobile Toronado”.

Customers have met the invention without much enthusiasm and have long been accustomed to an unusual innovation. There were even recorded cases of a heart attack because of the airbag – the dead could not stand the effect of surprise. Soon, in addition to pillows, the government of America demanded to supply vehicles with automatic seat belts. Such an invention “forced” the driver to buckle up, as most car owners did not use seat belts.

If we talk about the “important dates” of the airbag, it is worth noting:

  • 1951 when two inventors an American and a German decided to patent it.
  • 1963 when it came to the pyro cartridge and compressed gases – sodium azide and potassium nitrate.
  • 1967 when the American Allen Breed invented the ball sensor – the first front impact sensor.
  • 1980 when Europe and Mercedes-Benz became interested in gas bags.
  • The last years of the 2000s when the system became mandatory.

The basic principles of the airbag:

The airbag is not just an elastic bag filled with gas. It is a complex construction, where all the elements are interconnected. It consists of:

  • Front impact sensor.
  • Control unit with a small electrical capacity.
  • Directly the very “body of the pillow”, equipped with calibrated holes. It consists of a pyro cartridge, which starts up gas under high pressure, and shells of soft elastic nylon.

The driver’s life is protected by the airbags installed in the center of the rudder, and the passenger modules are located in the dashboard. In inflated condition, it resembles a large volleyball. Passenger module should be even more: usually in accidents sitting in front suffering more driver – the gap between the person and the instrument panel is large enough. The airbags is instantly filled with air (gas) thanks to the pyro cartridge, and it is blown off gradually and evenly due to the holes on the entire surface of the pillow.

The sensors detecting the front impact can be located in the cabin or in the control panel of the machine. Developers can equip the car with one or more devices that “catch” the impact of external shocks. The sensor can be triggered by a head-on collision or when a shock is similar to a frontal impact. Sensors also respond to the sudden slowdown of the car: they “analyze” the speed that the car loses to activate or not activate the safety module. The airbag should not be triggered during emergency braking.

The electronic power supply is designed to control the passive safety system. When the vehicle is started, it checks for a few seconds the serviceability of the airbag, the integrity of the firing pin, the condition of the electric circuits, etc. If the control system detects a defect the indicator light will light up. It will warn the owner that the airbag needs to be replaced. It is necessary to hand it over to a car service center, in which experts on airbags work. It is strongly recommended not to attempt to repair the security module or the security system on its own.

Modern safety modules are optimal for cars and their drivers. Even after a strong external impact, a person will not be trapped in the cabin – he will quickly get out of the car. The fact that the padded airbag is warm enough indicates its serviceability – the gas, released by the pyro cartridge, heats up in the process to a certain temperature. Some cars provide side airbags for people in the backseat and, accordingly, side sensors. Instruments “catch” not only the force of impact, but also its direction.

Advantages and disadvantages of the airbag

The main advantage of an airbag is that it complements both the active safety system and other elements of the passive safety system. It is activated only in an emergency – with a front impact + \ – 10 degrees from the longitudinal axis of the car and does not respond to unevenness on the track or emergency braking. The main force of the impact in the event of an accident occurs on her, and only 10-15% – on the head, neck, coccyx and the vital organs of the driver.

Speaking about the disadvantages of modern airbags, experts note that a system designed to save lives does not always save them. And for what reasons:

  • The airbag flies to the driver at a speed of 200-300 km / h. At the core of the fright, cardiac arrest may occur, and a ball with gas can not be injured or killed if the driver is not fastened. Children under 12 years of age must be fastened.
  • In the enclosed space of the car, the driver and his passengers can injure a broken windshield. And in the conditions of an accident it is not possible to take care of the depressurization of the machine.
  • The airbag takes 80-90% of the shock wave. Developers and drivers believe that this is not enough – the percentage should be increased to 100.
  • The consequences of the long idle time (inactivity) of the airbag have been little studied.
  • There were cases when the airbag did not work. In addition, the driver’s seat belt can not be seriously injured if the driver is not fastened.

How much is the system popular with drivers and automakers?

Speaking about the popularity of the “airbag”, it is worth noting that most modern cars do not come off the assembly line without SRS. The first bold inventions of the mid-1950s contributed to the fact that today the airbag saves millions of lives. Unfortunately, on the roads of Russia you can still find cars that do not have air airbag. The average age of such vehicles is about ten years.

Date: 05.10.18     Views: 183