It seems that just a few years ago air bags in cars were exotic. Today their numbers in some models are up to 10. At first glance, it’s a simple bag made of a smooth, elastic synthetic material. But the fabric of an airbag needs to be very thin and strong, during the accident even the smallest stitches should not not be in the contact area with driver’s face and body. The cushion should’nt also become a trampoline, it must be able to ease the gas pressure on time. In fact, many manufacturers have ceased to sew pillows using the fabric that breaks letting the air out. When packing the airbag they put talc powder to prolong the cushion’s life.
The number of embedded airbags is growing rapidly. Just recently, the car with two airbags was considered as luxury and now having a dozen would not surprise an average driver. All bags are working on one principle but there are many differences. For example, the driver cushions size ranges between 60 and 80 liters, while the passenger needs a much bigger 130-160 liter volume. Side impacts are often no less dangerous than frontal. Naturally, the car manufacturers could not leave it unnoticed over the past 10 years and many cars got their side-bags. They are much smaller than the frontal airbags, the volume ranges from 15 to 25 liters. There are also different forms. Along with the conventional «mushroom type», there are extended “long rollers” in the shoulder area and “inflatable shutters”, reliably protecting the head of the driver and rear passengers. You can more and more often find a pillow under the front panel or on the floor as the driver’s and passenger’s legs should also be protected. And the last invention of “Toyoda Gosei” are the cushions to protect pedestrians. Two rollers fired from the radiator grills and a slit between the hood and windshield, designed to minimize the damage of adult pedestrians, and children.Airbags for motorcycles and scooters are already installed by the customer’s request, in Italy for example, perhaps soon, and they will be widely used on all motorcycles.
Interesting facts about airbags:
* Passenger airbag is usually twice as big as the driver’s due to the greater distance from the dashboard.
* To make an airbag fill up the full volume it needs 25-50 m/sec (for a comparison an eye blink takes about 100 m/sec)
* Airbag opening speed reaches 320 km/h
* “Renault” car maker installs a small airbag in frontal part of the driver’s seat to prevent diving under the seat belt.