Complete Working principle of Airbags in Cars

Ever Wonder How do Airbags Work?
Well, here is a quick and in-depth guide on working of airbags in cars.

Working Principle of Airbags in CarsThe airbag system is one of the most important parts of your vehicle safety device.

Like seat belts, airbag – a soft pillow to land against in a crash – has been around for many years.

In the 1980s, the first commercial airbags appeared in automobiles. It’s a system consisting of a flexible fabric envelope designed to inflate rapidly during an automobile collision.

So, What are Airbags?

In simple words, Airbags are nothing but a safety system installed in the vehicles which, exact after the collision, expands rapidly and protects you from colliding to any hard edges.

The modern vehicle contains multiple airbags in the various sides and frontal locations of the passenger seating position.

The most important parts of the success of the airbag system are the Crash Sensors. These small pieces of electronics are designed to tell when the vehicle has been damaged in an accident.

The signals obtained from various sensors are fed into the Airbag control unit (ACU), which determines from the angle of impact the severity of the force of crash along with other variables.

The Airbag system contains a mixture of Sodium Azide (NaN3), KNO3 and SiO2. The reactions, in order, are as follows:

  1. 2 NaN3 → 2 Na + 3 N2 (g)
  2. 10 Na + 2 KNO3 → K2O + 5 Na2O + N2 (g)
  3. K2O + Na2O + 2 SiO2 → K2O3Si + Na2O3Si (Silicate Glass)

Complete working of Airbags has been explained in this Video:

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Airbags

How fast does an Airbag deploy?

An airbag can deploy in about 55 milliseconds, according to the engineering study. This is about the same amount of time it takes you to blink your eyes or sneeze means airbag deployment is very quick.

How much does an Airbag cost?

If you want to replace or repair an airbag in your vehicle, the cost will vary depending on the type of car, as well as which airbag needs to be replaced. Generally, budget between $400-800 for a driver’s side airbag. A passenger-side airbag can cost up to $1,000.

How to know if my car has faulty Airbags?

If your vehicle has an airbag light, and it is lit up, this could indicate faulty airbags or a problem with the airbag system otherwise there is no real way of knowing if the vehicle has a faulty airbag. If the airbag light comes on, it is best to have the vehicle checked out by a professional.

Can Airbags be Reused?

No, Airbags can’t be reused. As discussed earlier, a small chemical reaction causes a tiny explosion which causes airbags to fill and deploy. And, once the chemical reaction happens and airbags deploy, it can’t be reused.

You will have to go for new airbags installation in your vehicles.

What percentage do airbags reduce the death risk?

Well, it depends on whether the driver is seat-belted or not.

In the case of belted drivers, Airbags reduces the risk of dying by 52% which is really considerable. But, in the case of unbelted drivers the reduction of dying rate was 21%.

Why is it important to wear seat belts even you have airbags?

At the time of frontal crashes, it has been studied that seatbelts keep your body in a position that airbags can protect your body from colliding to any hard edges.

In the cases of belted drivers, the risk of dying was reduced by 52% while in the unbelted driver it was only 21%.

Can dust from Airbags make one sick?

The dust coming out from the airbags at the time of deployment is not toxic at all. But, in some cases, it can cause throat itching and eye burning.

Do airbags smell?

Yes, Airbags smell.

Manufacturers use corn starch or any other talcum powder in order to keep the airbags lubricated. So, at the time of deployment, airbags may smell and sometimes, it can cause itching too.

By Deepak K

I write about business and technology, mainly. I share interesting stuff on Twitter too.

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