Is AirBag Really Necessary For Car Safety?

In the era of vehicle development, the increasing in number of cars undoubtedly leads to the growth of accident rate. For that reason, car producers are always searching and creating equipment to make sure drivers will be safe. Air bag – car owner’s best friend is created for that purpose. For many of you, it is still an unfamiliar define. So what is an air bag and how important is it?

All You Need To Know About Air Bag

Air Bag History

Even though invented and specified for automobile in 1941, the airbag is credited to an American names John W.Hetrick in 18 August 1953. Three months later, Walter Linderer, a German engineer was also issued on 12 November 1953.

Developed from the early 1940 and publicly used in 1970, air bag is a vehicle safety device equipped for most of the car nowadays. When there are collisions in the event of failure braking or sudden impact, it will inflate extremely quick and become a soft restraint to protect car owners.

Interestingly, airbags from Linderer and Hetrick had many common details and working function: Released by bumper contact, spring, sudden impact or by the driver himself.

The Structure Of An Air Bag

Air bag system contains 3 main parts:

The steering wheel is the perfect place to install airbag (photo source: Gifer)


Airbag is the cushion for car owners when accident occurs (photo source:

This is the big, soft cushion that will protect the drivers from sudden impact. The airbag made of woven nylon fabric and coated by talcum powder or corn starch for drivers to assemble it easier, along with preventing the fabric from sticking together.

In newer models, the materials for airbag, especially driver’s side air bag, is silicone and urethane. These materials are not only stronger but also do not require a heat shield coating like older airbag models.


Inflator is the core of the system. (photo source:

You might think this is a small piece of metal, but inflator is actually an important part of the airbag system that prevents propellant contamination. It is made from either cast aluminum or stamped stainless steel. Inside a inflator, there is a filter assembly which made by a steel wire and ceramic material.

In order to join stainless steel together, as well as aluminum inflator sub-assemblies, the engineers use laser welding and friction inertial welding. By doing these, the inflator assembly will be much more stronger and more endurable.  After that, it will be tested to make sure about the quality and ready to use when needed.


airbag propellant
This mixture can save thousand drivers (photo source: Renault)

How can the small air bag can turn into a huge cushion to protect driver? It also thanks to the propellant, which located between the initiator and the filter assembly. The part is a mixture of oxidizer and sodium azide. After carefully examination, these two will be blended under sophisticated computerized and the propellant mixture will be sent to storage.

Propellant takes the role to inflate the air bag when accident happens.

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The Importance Of Air Bag

How Air Bag Protects The Driver

Air bag system can also calculate the impact to inflate correctly (photo source: Gifer)

When there is an impact, the crash sensor names ACU will recognize the impact immediately. Firstly, ACU which controls the sensor, speed, brake pressure,… will measure the impact. If the number is higher than the acceptable level, the detonator will be triggered.

The spark from the crash censor will then transfer to the inflator, which sets off the propellant mixture which produces nitrogen gas. The large amount of gas will inflates the air bag with the speed of 300 km/h, perfect timing to save driver’s life from hitting any hard object in front of him. There are tiny holes on the surface of the bag to release the gas inside, which helps the driver move out of the car.

The video shows us how Airbag works in a visual way.

The Results

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 1987 to 2008, airbags saved approximately 25000 drivers in America. The positive results of this equipment makes it an essential car part on every vehicle around the world.

Thanks for the airbag system, driver can protect himself from getting injures at head, neck, chest and face.Beside from that, the threats from sharp objects inside the vehicle will also be limited when airbag system is the car owner’s shield.

In order to avoid risk while driving cars, you must have an air bag at all cost!

The video shows why having an airbag can be so different between life and death.