Is an airbag a vital part of a car? Yes, airbags are crucial protective components that car manufacturers install in vehicles. There are several benefits of airbags in automobiles. For instance, during a car crash, they keep your chest, neck, and head from slamming into the windshield, steering, or dash.
Airbags achieve their protective goal by inflating. So, what causes an airbag to inflate? Below we provide everything you need to know about airbags.
Benefits of Airbags
Generally, all SUVs, trucks, and cars sold to the public must have side and front airbags. The primary reason for that rule is that airbags reduce accident fatalities. A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety establishes that frontal airbags reduce the fatality of head-on crashes by 52%.
Apart from reducing the fatality of an accident, there are several other benefits of airbags in cars. Here are the topmost:
- Reduces the chances of ejection from the window of a car during a crash;
- Limiting the distance that one’s head can fling forward during a crash;
- Increases cushioning on the spine, head, and neck;
- Reduces forces of impact;
Impact Sensors and Airbag Deployment
Generally, there are two primary parts of an airbag. They include the bag and sensor. The bag consists of nylon fabrics that are thin and which manufacturers fold into the dashboard, steering wheel, door, or seat.
On the other hand, the sensor is the object that instructs the bag to inflate. When there is a frontal crash, the sensor will send an electrical signal to the detonator. The detonator will then trigger a chemical reaction, where potassium nitrate and sodium azide will work together to produce a harmless nitrogen gas, which fills the airbag.
Airbags consist of vents that will deflate after absorbing the occupant’s energy. The immediate deflation ensures that you do not need to worry about restricted movements or the risk of the airbag smothering you.
Both airbags and seatbelts work together to reduce the fatality of an accident. After an accident, make sure to have your seatbelts repaired and airbags replaced. You can visit https://oemrdc.com/ to learn more about the necessary repairs.
Crash Severity Levels
Crash severity falls into three primary levels: severe, moderate, and minor. The level of crash severity will determine the airbag deployment threshold. Generally, the deployment threshold for highly severe and moderate crashes is 18mph and eight mph for minor crashes.
In addition, the sensor uses pressure and accelerometer sensors to determine the suitable level of airbag deployment. Thus, crash severity levels are one of the vital factors that impact airbag inflation.
Initial Deployment of the Airbag
How long does it take for a airbag to inflate? Typically airbags’ initial deployment or inflation is faster than the blink of an eye. It can take between 15 to 20 milliseconds.
After a crash detection, airbags will burst from their storage space at a speed of 200mph. By the time it gets to 45 to 55 milliseconds, your bag should be fully inflated, and at 75 to 85 milliseconds of the crash, the bag should be deflated.
As stated above, the chemical responsible for airbag inflation is sodium azide. In case of a crash, sensors in your car will send an electrical signal to the ignitor, which causes a chemical reaction in the airbag inflation system.
The airbag inflation system burns a solid propellant, which rapidly ignites to create a significant amount of nitrogen gas that causes the bag to inflate. After the bag bursts, it will take less than a second to deflate as the produced gas will dissipate via tiny holes in the airbag. Generally, the entire inflation process will take 15 milliseconds.
Without airbag deployment, the people involved in the accident are at high risk of sustaining life-threatening injuries. As stated above, deployment decisions occur within the first 15 milliseconds of initial impact. Thus, airbags play a vital protective role in car crashes.
Have you ever been in a situation where your airbag inflated? If yes, let us know your experiences and thoughts concerning airbags.