How Airbags Work in Car

We all know our cars have airbags, but how do airbags function in cars may be a question that a lot of folks have. In 2019, the Indian government issued a regulation mandating the installation of airbags in all old vehicles. This rule was enacted as a result of extreme importance being placed on safety when it involves automobiles and motoring. 

What are Airbags?

Stretchable textiles or other materials are firmly packed in various spots throughout your car as airbags. There are airbags within the dashboard of most automobiles, with some car models also having them on the edges of the dashboard. When inactive, these airbags are maintained in a compressed state. They refill with air extremely fast after a crash to supply cushioning for those within the car,  in order to make sure that they’re not tossed around. While this doesn’t definitely prevent total damage or death, it is quite often beneficial in protecting the occupants in a car.

Origin of Air Bags?

Airbags have been around since 1941, the primary airbags were created by Walter Linderer, a German engineer, and John W. Hetrick, an American industrial engineer. On August 18,1953 Hetrick was granted a patent and after this finally Walter Linderer was awarded the patent in November 1953 after waiting for it since October 1953. This was because of the very fact that it couldn’t be inflated quickly enough following an accident, whereas Hetrick’s concept failed thanks to an absence of interest from automakers investing in it. When Hetrick’s patent eventually expired, Ford experimented with airbags in a few their vehicles as an experiment and finally after  the struggling experiment in 1973, the Oldsmobile Toroanado became the first car with air bag for the passengers.

How Airbags function?

Normally we don’t associate chemistry with automobiles, but the fact is that they both are interrelated, Chemistry comes in  from starting the engine to stopping it. It also plays a very important role in functioning of air bags.The content of the airbags is designed in such a way that it expands when exposed to heat. The  During a collision it just takes us about 50millisecond to hit our head on the steering wheel. Whenever there’s a collision there’s a sensor called an accelerometer that detects it and from there it sends an electrical signal to ignitor. The ignitor then ignites a chemical propellant called sodium azide which produces a large amount of sodium and nitrogen gas. This gas immediately inflates within the main airbag.  Now you ought to be wondering how long this whole process takes, to your surprise it just takes 30-40 milliseconds The accelerometer plays a really important role because it has the power to detect a crash and send signals to the airbag mechanism. It distinguishes between bumps and crashes because you don’t want your air bags inflating after you hit a pothole. Nowadays the air bag manufacturers put guanidine nitrate in the airbags instead of the sodium azide. Both work on the same principle of nitrogen gas production.

Read more about : airbags cars in india

Interesting Fact related to Air Bags

First head-on collision between two airbag-equipped automobiles occurred in 1990 when two 1989 Chrysler LeBarons collided, triggering the driver airbags in both cars. Despite the severity of the crash, both drivers received relatively minor injuries.

Different kind of air bags

Frontal Airbag 

  • For the first time, the Porsche 944 Turbo was fitted with twin airbags for the driver and the passenger as standard equipment back in 1987. 

Knee Airbag:

  • These airbags protect the knees of passengers.
  • As of 1996, the Kia Sportage has been equipped with this feature as an option. In most cases, this airbag is placed beneath the steering wheel.
  • Due to their high efficiency, knee airbags have been more widespread since the early 2000s.

Side Airbag

  • In the event of a side accident, side airbags protect the occupants. 
  • There are two different types of side air bags
  1. Side Torso Airbag: Which inflates between a driver and the door to protect the torso in case of a rollover or collision.
  2. Curtain Airbag: It is the second type of airbag that may be deployed. Roof-mounted, the airbag deploys like a curtain to provide side protection.

Read more about: What is airbag in car


There are lot of factors involved in functioning of airbags, If we must put it up in an exceedingly simple way, then we are able to say that the airbags save our lives during accident with the assistance of a simple reaction.The Indian government has passed a law on April 1,2021 that has made twin airbags mandatory for all passenger automobiles. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highway has said that after April 1, 2021, new models must have airbags, while current vehicles must have airbags for the person occupying the front seat other than the driver after August 31, 2021. There are plenty of question in our mind regarding air bags in India. See “airbags cars in India”

Shikha Gupta

Hi, I'm Shikha, working as a Content Curator for the past 4 years. On DailyDigitalNews you can learn about Business, Digital Marketing, Sports, and much more from my writings. Moreover, I am also a bookworm and spend most of my free time reading.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button