Leading Edge Deployment Speed of Production Air Bags 950870
Air bags have proven to be effective in preventing deaths and serious injuries; however, in some instances when an occupant contacts an air bag while it is still deploying, injuries may result from this contact. Most of these are minor injuries, such as skin abrasions, which are believed to be caused by the contact pressure created by the deploying air bag surface. To assess the relative potential of different air bag designs to cause skin abrasions, a series of static deployment tests was conducted to measure the leading-edge speed of driver-side air bags from several 1993 model cars. The results of the tests indicate that air bags exhibit a wide range of leading-edge speeds and that, in some cases, maximum leading-edge speed is a highly variable characteristic among air bags from the same model car. Maximum leading edge speeds ranged from 171 to 328 km/h. Comparison of speed profiles to an approximate abrasion reference value showed that many of the tested air bags are traveling at a speed great enough to cause abrasions as far away as 286 mm from the steering wheel; however, some air bags never reached this reference speed.