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Airbag deployment mechanism....for bicycle riders

  1. Dec 30, 2016 #1
    [ mod note: thread moved to homework forum so template is missing ]

    Hello! My name is Marianne, and I'm a new member. This is my first post. (Yay!) I'm currently brainstorming ideas for the capstone/senior design project for engineering and decided airbags for bicycles... like a version of that Swedish bike helmet/airbag contraption. Now, I don't want to give away too much information about what I'm creating because I have still yet to patent it. (Good thing the engineering department in my university has very close ties with the lawyer-y department.)

    So, my question is...
    What are the different mechanisms for airbag deployment? What the pros and cons for each mechanism, given the purpose? And which mechanism would you choose?

    My fairly quick research and thoughts thus far
    There are two mechanisms I've read about for airbag deployment. One is a sodium azide reaction, and the other is compressed air.

    Sodium azide is pretty cool because it can potentially be so much more compact and lighter. It's also what's used in car airbags today. However, it's essentially a mini explosion near your neck which could make this a little bit more clunky because protect yourself from a mini explosion near your neck on top of protecting yourself from a major bike accident. It may lead to more problems. Like heat dissipation, heat resistant materials ,etc. It could get expensive. Then, there's also marketability... like what happens after it deploys? You'll probably have to send it back to get a new sodium azide pack installed. It's just more of a hassle and probably a little too expensive for a consumer.

    Now, I'm leaning towards compressed air because it's more convenient (easier to find and buy), most likely cheaper, easier to replace after deployment, and may even be sold as a separate part for the user to install...thinking ahead to the future IF such a device could get sold to the general public. Downsides to it is that it's a little more clunky to begin with. I know that's what used to be used in car airbags. Why did they stop using it? Is the reaction time slower? Since it's for a bicycle helmet, I assume that bicycle accidents generally happen at slower speeds. So, the deceleration probably isn't as drastic as a car accident. So, my sub-question is... would compressed air cartridges be good enough for the types of collisions that a cyclist might face?
    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2016 #2


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    Perhaps workout the volume of air required and how big the compressed air cartridge would need to be.
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