Airbags: A staple during journeys to ensure your safety
Safety during travelling is the most important aspect of a trip. Earlier, we used to depend on seat belts to hold us back and keep us safe if we, unfortunately, encounter an accident. Gradually, over the passage of years, technology has advanced and it has given birth to airbags which work more effectively towards maintaining the safety of the passengers. Airbags are inflatable and flexible bags which are made out of plastic which is known to inflate very swiftly and when it has a collision with something or gets a blow from another object it deflates instantly. The aim of preparing the airbags is merely to provide the passengers a certain amount of cushioning in case an accident happens.
The history of the advent of airbags is pretty interesting. They first received their patent on airplanes during the service of crash-landing at the time of World War 2. The first airbags that were meant for commercial use were issued in the 1980s. Since 1988, the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat of all cars were manufactured with airbags. Frontal car crashes can be quite fatal and research studies over the years have shown that as soon as the cars started using airbags, the rate of fatality due to frontal car crash was diminished by about 30%. After that, there appeared airbags that were mounted on the seats and doors. Nowadays, certain cars have crossed all boundaries and have even six to seven airbags.
Here we will describe the mechanism of these diagnostic tools that have saved quite a few lives:
- We all have studies Newton’s Laws of Motion in school, right? They say that objects those are in motion possess a feature called momentum which is actually the product of mass along with velocity. The laws also state that if any object remains in a static position, it will continue to remain so until and unless, it is acted upon by an external force. In the case of an accident, the car comes to a sudden halt or even a crash. In that case, the momentum of the car changes. The airbag hence stops incurring any damage to the passenger as well as the driver or even minimum damage.
- The airbag actually aims to make the speed of the passenger zero and render minimum damage to her. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. The space that is present between the steering wheel or even the dashboard and the passenger does not allow the airbags much time to work upon. No matter how small the space is, it is very crucial in making the speed of the passenger zero so that he or she is not subjected to a sudden blow and injures themselves. Even if there is a fraction of a second, the airbags try to bring down the speed of the passenger to zero.
- The bag is built out a very thin and fabric made of nylon. The bag is actually kept folded on the steering wheel or even the dashboard. Nowadays, it is kept on the seat or even at the door.
- The bag is equipped with sensors that signal it to inflate itself. If the collision force is equal to ramming into a concrete wall at a speed of 10 to 15 miles an hour. There is a mechanical switch that gets flipped whenever there happens a shift in the mass which closes an electrical contact. This is the cue to the sensors that a crash has taken place. An accelerometer is built within a microchip which sends out the information to the sensors.
- The airbags have an inflation system within them which causes a reaction between sodium azide and potassium nitrate. Together, they result in the production of nitrogen gas. Large amounts of it cause the bag to inflate. Airbags were proposed to be built in cars but it received quite a few technical obstacles as well as prohibitive prices since airbags had compressed gas stored inside them.
Now you know the exact mechanism by which airbags work. They have saved many lives during accidents and situations of crisis and continue to do so in future.