Friday, October 6, 2000
Your airbag protects you in a front-end collision, but what if
your car rolls over? Rollovers can last seven to eight seconds, which is enough
time for airbags filled with hot gas to cool down, deflate, and loose their
effectiveness. A new airbag inflator technology called ASH-2 from Autoliv solves
the problem by using cool rather than hot gases.
"Hot gas looses its pressure over time," says Autoliv's Randy
Clark, a mechanical engineer and the marketing manager for the new inflator
product. "That's not as critical in a front-end collision where impact and
airbag inflation typically take place in less than one second. But in a rollover
situation, we might need the side impact rollover curtains to stay inflated for
seven to eight seconds."
The ASH-2's patented design is based on disassociation.
Disassociation separates the ASH-2's gas into nitrogen and oxygen and uses
energy that comes from breaking the gas's molecular bonds without generating
The new inflator has 44% fewer parts and less than half the welds
of the company's previous models. GM and DaimlerChrysler offer the AHS-2 system
in some new models. For more information about cool-gas airbag inflators, write
to Autoliv Inc., 1320 Pacific Dr., Auburn Hills, MI 48326; call (248) 475-0407;
or visit the company's website at www.autoliv.com.