Have you ever wondered how airbags are made, how does it work to make them deploy, how many times they can be used…? Here are some answers!

All the facts you may not know about airbags in an infographic

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About the shape and volume of an airbag?

Airbags designed for automobiles come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from conventional side and front airbags to more unique designs such as knee airbags and inflatable seat belts. Once deployed, airbags can hold from 55 to 120 liters of gas.

Why do we have to use seatbelts when we have airbags?

Airbag systems do not save lives on their own. They are what we call “supplemental restraint systems”, meaning they must be used in conjunction with (and not instead of) seatbelts in order to be effective.

How does an airbag know when to deploy?

Airbags are based on sensor technology. Sensor controllers are connected to the airbag cushion and detect a range of accident types, from frontal and side shocks to collisions into solid objects and falls. Not only do sensors evaluate the type of accident but they are also capable of detecting slowing speeds and the number of passengers who need to be protected. Once a sensor has detected the conditions for an accident, it takes a total of 50 milliseconds to trigger and deploy the airbag. You don’t even have time to blink!

If airbags can be used more than once?

Unfortunately, airbags only have one shot. After they have been deployed in an accident, they must be replaced by a professional mechanic.

If airbags could be used in sports?

Yes, in fact airbag technology does not stop at the automotive sector and is gradually finding its place in the world of sports to help protect athletes from injury. Take for example two extreme sports such as skiing and cycling.

Skiers can now protect themselves with avalanche airbags. This new airbag innovation fits in a backpack and skiers can deploy it by pulling on a handle to deploy the cushion that will lift them up above the snow during an avalanche.

As for cyclists, they can wear an airbag collar around their necks. Advanced sensors on the airbag are able to differentiate between a cyclist’s normal movements and an accident. When an accident is detected, a cushion inflates around the cyclist’s head and neck like a hood to prevent head and neck injuries from occurring.

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Pierre Defaux

Posted by Pierre Defaux

Global Market Manager Textile Coating