Auto safety has come a long way in the last few decades, and one of the most effective innovations is the crumple zone. Also known as a crush zone, crumple zones are areas of a vehicle that are designed to deform and crumple in a collision. This absorbs some of the energy of the impact, preventing it from being transmitted to the occupants.
Of course, keeping people safe in auto accidents isn't as simple as making the whole vehicle crumple. Engineers have to consider many factors in designing safer cars, including vehicle size and weight, frame stiffness and the stresses the car is likely to be subjected to in a crash. For example, race cars experience far more severe impacts than street cars, and SUVs often crash with more force than small cars.
We're going to find out how crumple zones redistribute the forces involved in a crash, what crumple zones are made out of and learn about a few other advanced safety systems that are being tested right now. We'll also find out how crumple zones have been incorporated into race cars, and why a number of racing fatalities could have been prevented if the sport had adopted these safety features sooner. We'll even take a look at crumple zones designed to absorb the massive impact of a train collision.
To find out the forces involved in a collision, and to learn how a well designed crumple zone can minimize occupant injury, read the next page.