A model is presented in which distinction is made between the contributions of the different mechanisms of heat transfer to an air bag fabric during deployment. An experimental setup, designed for simulation and recording of the thermal response of permeable and coated (impermeable) air bag fabrics, is described. Comparisons between the experimental results and numerical predictions show fair agreement. The preliminary results show that the model provides a framework in which the interplay between the three convective heat transfer coefficients (two surface and one volumetric) that affect the fabric temperature (and the heat loss from the upstream bag gas) can be examined. Currently the magnitude of these surface convective heat fluxes are being examined experimentally.