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Crash sensors and rocket fuel: The story of how the airbag came about

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(dpa) — There’s the squeal of tyres, the crash of breaking glass, and then the airbag immediately inflates. The now ubiquitous safety device that protects the head and upper body in a car crash first made its appearance in vehicles half a century ago. This is how it works: sensors register a collision and trigger a propellant charge that causes a textile bag to instantly inflate with compressed air, cushioning the head. Together with the three-point safety belt it’s played a crucial role in reducing deaths and injuries in collisions. The origin of the air bag goes back a long way. In 1951 Walt…

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