Everything You Need to Know About the Car’s Airbag System

Everything You Need to Know About the Car’s Airbag System

An airbag is an essential element of a car's passive safety system that is designed to protect passengers and drivers during a collision. It is integrated into various components of the vehicle, including the steering wheel, seat, dashboard, and ceiling. The airbag's primary function is to inflate rapidly during a crash and prevent the occupants from striking hard surfaces, thereby reducing the risk of injury. We’ve prepared a bunch of captivating details about the airbag car system you might not know.

How an Airbag Was Invented

How an Airbag Was Invented

In 1953, the first airbag project was patented by American John Hetrick. That same year, a German named Walter Linderer also drew a schematic for this method of protection in a car. However, neither option came to fruition as the compressed air from the cylinder, which was used to open the airbag, was not sufficient for its instant inflation.

In 1963, Yasuzoburo Kobori developed a solution to replace air with gas that generated a special pyrotechnic cartridge inside which a tablet of sodium azide burned. However, the question of how to trigger the pyro cartridge remained unanswered.

In 1967, Allen Breed, an American, invented the first prototype of a sensor that gives a command to activate the airbags. In his design, a ball moved at the moment of impact, closed the contacts, and triggered the pyro cartridge. This principle is still used in sensors today.

How is the Airbag Arranged?

How is the Airbag Arranged?

The airbag itself has no value. It works only when all the components of the system are in good condition: the fabric bag itself, the gas generator, the shock sensors, and the electronic control unit. The bag is made of several layers of thin nylon, which can withstand strong but short-term loads.

Shock sensors are located around the entire perimeter of the car body and transmit information about the force of the impact at the time of the collision to the SRS electronic control unit. If the force of the impact is within the established norm, the airbags do not open. However, if the impact force transmitted from the sensor predicts injury to a person, the SRS sends a signal and activates a charge that, upon exploding, releases gas to open the airbag.

Depending on which sensor was triggered, the control system gives a signal to open not all but only certain airbags. For example, if there are no passengers in the car (the seat belt tensioners must report this as well) at the time of the accident, only the airbags that protect the driver will work.

Types of Airbags You Can Find In a Car

Types of Airbags You Can Find In a Car

There are several types of airbags that can be found in a car. The most common one is the front airbag, which is located in the steering wheel for the driver and on the dashboard for the front passenger. These airbags are designed to deploy during a frontal impact.

Another type of airbag is the side airbag, which can be located in the seat or door panel. Side airbags are designed to protect the occupants of the vehicle in the event of a side impact.

Some cars also have knee airbags, which are located in the lower part of the dashboard and are designed to protect the driver's knees in a frontal collision.

In addition to these types of airbags, some cars also have curtain airbags, which are designed to protect the heads of the occupants in the event of a side impact or rollover.

It's important to note that airbags are just one component of a car's overall safety system and should be used in conjunction with other safety features, such as seat belts and electronic stability control.

Diagnostics of Airbags: Why Is It Necessary?

The number of airbags in a car depends on its configuration, with frontal driver and passenger airbags often being the standard. Additional airbags may be offered for an extra fee.

If you purchase a wrecked car, it's important to know the number and condition of its airbags to ensure your safety in case of an accident. In addition, occasional airbags can sometimes malfunction and unexpectedly deploy, posing a safety risk.

Experts recommend that airbag diagnostics be conducted regularly to check for the physical presence of the airbags, ensure the sensors and wiring are in good condition, and verify the functionality of the electronic control unit. This can help ensure that the airbag system is working properly and will provide adequate protection in the event of an accident.

Wrapping Up

Airbags are an essential safety feature in modern cars, designed to protect passengers and drivers during a collision. The airbag system consists of multiple components, including the bag, gas generator, shock sensors, and ECU, all working together to ensure the airbag deploys when necessary. Different types of airbags are available in modern cars, including the driver's airbag, passenger's airbag, and side airbag, each designed to provide protection in specific scenarios.

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