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How Car Airbags Work

How Airbags Work?

1. When a car hits something, it starts to decelarate rapidly. 

2. An accelerometer (an electronic chip that measures acceleration or force) helps to detect the change of speed.

3. If the deceleration is strong enough, it triggers the airbag circuit. Normal braking doesn’t cause enough force to do this. 

4. The airbag circuit passes an electric current with the help of a heating element (a bit like one of the wires in a toaster). 

5. The heating element explodes a chemical explosive. Earlier, airbags used sodium Azide as their explosive but now they use different chemicals. 

6. As the explosive burns, it creates a massive amount of harmless gas (typically either nitrogen or argon) that flows into a nylon bag packed behind the steering wheel.

7. As the bag expands, it blows the plastic cover off the steering wheel and then it inflates in front of the driver. The bag is coated with a chalky substance like talcum powder in order to help it unwrap smoothly. 

8. The driver (moving forward because of the impact) pushes against the bag and the airbag is deflated.

What happens when the Airbags Deflate?

The process takes place in four distinct steps, which happen in the blink of an eye-

1. Detection: Sophisticated sensors if a frontal or side collision is serious enough to deploy this essential technology or not. 

2. Communication: The airbag system’s electronic control unit analyses information about where the impact occurred and how severe it is. After the analysis, it immediately sends a signal to an inflator within the airbag module. 

3. Ignition: The signal triggers an instant reaction which includes the ignition of a chemical mix that produces a harmless gas, which inflates the bag at speeds of up to 200 mph. 

4. Deflation: Tiny holes in the fabric of the bag help the gas to escape. At this point, the seat occupant comes into contact with the bag and the controlled deflation absorbs the person’s forward-moving energy in order to save him from the impact.

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