Airbag

What Is An Air Bag And Know How It Can Save Lives?


What is an Airbag?

An airbag is a pillow-like safety device that inflates during the events of a frontal crash of an automobile. The purpose of employing the air-bag is to provide a cushion for bodies of the occupants. Thus, it prevents their direct collision with the inner objects such as the steering wheel or dashboard. It is one of the most vital safety features of a modern-day car.

The constructional details of an Airbag system are shown in the diagram below:

Constructional details of Airbag system
Figure1-Constructional details of Airbag system(Courtesy- HowStuffWorks, Inc)

There are three main components of the Air-bag system. It consists of an inflatable bag, an impact sensor, and the inflation system. They work with each other to inflate the bag and thus, provide protection to the occupants. Let's look at them.



Components of an Airbag:

    1. Bag- It is made of thin nylon fabric and fitted at the desired position inside the steering wheel by folding.
    2. Sensor- The function of a sensor is to send the signal of inflation to the airbag in a situation of a crash.
    3. Inflation system- This system performs the actual task of inflation of the bag. Upon receipt of the signal from the sensor, it carries out a chemical reaction between Sodium azide (NaN3) and Potassium nitrate (KNO3). As a result, it generates nitrogen. The tremendous pressure which the nitrogen generates, causes the bag to inflate.
Inflation of Airbag
Figure 2- Inflation of Airbag (Courtesy- HowStuffWorks, Inc)

The air-bag acts as a cushion. It prevents fatal injuries to the head of the occupants and thereby, saves lives. Once the body of occupant touches the air-bag, the gas filled in the bag starts dispersing out and soon the bag deflates completely. The whole process described above completes in a time less than one twenty-fifth of a second.

The initial concept of air-bag confines only to the driver and passenger airbags. However, the modern vehicles have multiple air-bags such as the side, curtain and, knee air-bags etc.

Various airbags in a car
Figure 3- Various airbags in a car

Various studies indicate that Air-bags are very effective in reducing death-rate during fatal accidents.

For more information on Air-bag, please click here.



Watch the Airbag in action:

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