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Crumple Zones Physics Gcse Coursework

Car safety features

When there is a car crash, the car, its contents and the passengers decelerate rapidly. They experience great forces because of the change in momentum, which can cause injury.

Modern cars also have safety features that absorb kinetic energy in collisions. These typically include:

  • Seat belts
  • Air bags
  • Crumple zones

These features reduce injuries to the people in the car by absorbing energy when they change shape. They increase the time taken for the change in momentum on the occupants' bodies, reducing the forces involved and injuries.

Seat belts

Seat belts stop you tumbling around inside the car if there is a collision. However, they are designed to stretch a bit in a collision. This increases the time taken for the body's momentum to reach zero, so reduces the forces on it.

Air bags

Air bags increase the time taken for the head's momentum to reach zero, so reduce the forces on it. They also act a soft cushion and prevent cuts.

Crumple zones

Crumple zones are areas of a vehicle that are designed to crush in a controlled way in a collision. They increase the time taken to change the momentum in a crash, which reduces the force involved.

Crumple zones are another safety feature in cars

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Moving cars have kinetic energy, which is changed into heat energy when they brake. Safety features in modern cars, such as seat belts and crumple zones, are designed to absorb kinetic energy in a crash.

Car safety features

Moving cars have kinetic energy. As energy cannot be created or destroyed, when a car brakes its kinetic energy changes into heat energy. The brakes heat up and then transfer the energy to the surroundings. Modern cars also have safety features that absorb kinetic energy in collisions. These typically include:

  • seat belts
  • air bags
  • crumple zones

All these features reduce injuries to the people in the car by absorbing energy when they change shape.

Car crash simulation

As they deform they increase the amount of time the person takes to come to a stop. This reduces the acceleration and force on the person, so reducing injury.

Seat belts have to be replaced after a crash because the large forces may damage them.

Other safety features

These are designed to help you survive a crash with as little injury as possible, or avoid a crash altogether. They include:

  • Anti-lock braking system (ABS) – prevents skidding allowing the driver to remain in control. The vehicle stops more quickly as there's more friction between the road and tyres.
  • Traction control - prevents skidding while accelerating so the car can quickly escape a dangerous situation.
  • Safety cage – strengthens the cabin section to protect people in a roll-over accident.

There are other features designed to help prevent accidents by reducing distractions while driving. They include:

  • Electric windows – make it easier to open and close windows
  • Cruise control – helps reduce accidental speeding
  • Paddle shift controls – allows the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel while changing gear or radio stations
  • Adjustable seats – makes the driver more comfortable

Now try a Test Bite.

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