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Physics of Boring Air Bags in cars

Jasmine24

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We know that moving objects have momentum. Unless an outside force acts on an object, the object will continue to move at its present speed and direction. Cars consist of several objects, including the vehicle itself, loose objects in the car and, of course, passengers. If these objects are not restrained, they will continue moving at whatever speed the car is traveling at, even if the car is stopped by a collision. Stopping an object's momentum requires force acting over a period of time. When a car crashes, the force required to stop an object is very great because the car's momentum has changed instantly while the passengers' has not -- there is not much time to work with. The goal of seat belts and air bags is to help stop the passenger while doing as little damage to him or her as possible. What an airbag wants to do is to slow the passenger's speed to zero with little or no damage. The constraints that it has to work within are huge. The airbag has the space between the passenger and the steering wheel or dashboard and a fraction of a second to work with. Even that tiny amount of space and time is valuable, however, if the system can slow the passenger evenly rather than forcing an abrupt halt to his or her motion. Researches are still studying new ways to make airbags more effective and safe with crash dummy's. Thanks for reading :)



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So to all drivers out there where your seat-belt! But could we find a way of making the airbags a little less violent? Sometimes they can cause injures but at the same time like you said above they prevent serious harm.

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