air bag


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air bag

A safety device installed in passenger cars and other vehicles (including helicopters and motorcycles) which consists of a rubberised nylon bag that inflates rapidly in frontal impacts, and, in an increasing number of vehicles, in side impacts. Dashboard air bags are standard equipment in personal vehicles in the US; side impact bags are usually “factory options”.
Mechanism Airbags detonate by spark ignition of sodium azide, nitrogen gas, ash, and NaOH.
Pros Estimated 6,377 lives saved from 1990 to 2000 (US); airbags reduce traffic fatalities by ±6.5%, assuming that a shoulder belt is worn.
Cons Skin abrasions, hearing loss due to loud (165-175 dB)deployment explosion, head injuries, eye damage (chemical keratitis, photophobia related to intraocular deposition of powder, ocular contusions), broken nose and upper extremities, burns due to hot gases, and death (which peaked at 53 in 1997, with a total of 175 between 1990 and 2000, per US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Air bags may deploy during rescue efforts by emergency personnel.
Causes of death Decapitation (infants, especially in rear facing seats), injuries including aortic transection; at highest risk are infants and children under age 13 years, those under 160 cm in height, and the elderly.

air bag

A balloon, positioned in a car steering wheel or dashboard, that inflates rapidly triggered by a deceleration sensor. A sudden chemical reaction generates nitrogen that, very briefly, inflates the balloon. The latter almost immediately deflates.
References in periodicals archive ?
Puzzled by these failures, federal safety regulators told Congress last month they believed the cars' air bags should have worked for up to 60 seconds after the engine stalled.
When an air bag deployed in combination with seat belt use, the risk of injury to the head, face, thorax, abdomen, and spine body regions was further reduced.
For this discussion, the rule may be summarized best by dividing it into frontal crash tests and out-of-position tests (in which air bag systems are to either suppress the air bag completely or deploy it with low risk).
The ECU sends an electronic signal to the air bag inflator, which will immediately respond by inflating the air bag.
What is clear is that once an air bag is deployed, it must be replaced.
Almost all the children who died from air bag injuries were improperly restrained or positioned.
Safety improvement also relies on developing sensor arrays that can feed the air bag controller up-to-the-millisecond details about vehicle occupants, such as their weight, position, and whether or not they are wearing seat belts.
For $26,995, 4-door models include air conditioning, cruise control and driver's air bag.
Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are becoming a material of choice in one vital component of the air bag safety system -- the air bag cover (sometimes referred to as the air bag door).
A number of suggestions have been made to automobile manufacturers to avoid such problems, but which if any of these changes in air bag design and utilization will soon materialize remains to be seen.
When NHTSA finally proposed its rule requiring warning stickers on automobile visors in 1993, a number of auto safety advocates (all strong air bag proponents) pushed for mild warnings to avoid alarming the public.
To help consumers protect themselves, Carfax now makes the air bag deployment information in its database available for free.