The crumple zone, also known as the crash zone, is the area in a car where the energy of the impact is absorbed and reduced, thus preventing it from being transmitted to the occupants and keeping passengers safe during accident. It is designed to crumple and deform in time of collision.
How the crumple zone works
Keeping people safe is the primary reason why automotive engineers designed crumple zone system. The specifics of the designs are generally information that automotive manufacturers are loath to reveal. They can differ widely, depending on the size and weight of the vehicle. Designers have to make a balance between too little impact resistance and too much impact resistance. Simple designs can include frame segments built to bend in certain areas or collapse onto them. More complex designs can use a variety of metals and other materials carefully engineered to absorb as much kinetic energy as possible.
Reduces initial force to reduce deceleration
The crumple zone has two primary safety goals:
- To distribute and decrease the initial force before it reaches the vehicle’s occupants
- To reduce the initial force equally results to reduced deceleration. The force you feel in an emergency stop is greater than when you progressively slow down for stoplight
Creates a barrier to absorb the impact
During a collision, slowing down the braking by even a few percent of a second can reduce the amount of force involved. Crumple zones accomplish this by making a barrier around the perimeter of the car. This barrier serves as protection by using certain parts of the car resistant to deforming such as the passenger compartment and engine. If those unbending parts hit something, they will decelerate very quickly, resulting in a lot of force. By making those parts surrounded by crumple zones, it allows the unbending materials to absorb the initial impact. The car begins to slow down as soon as this area crumples.
Redistributes the force of impact away from occupant
All the force has to go somewhere away from the passengers or driver. That’s the basic concept of crumple zone. Crumple zones help redistribute the force of impact from the car’s body. Parts of the car are built with structures designed to be damaged, crushed, broken, and crumpled but it takes force to damage them. Crumple zones are primarily designed to do just as it says, to crumple and to crush. By doing so, it reduces the impact of force sent through the car interior.
Redirecting and absorbing the impact is not the only issue automakers and auto designers have to consider. There are still lots of issues involved in making your car completely safe for your passengers especially when car crash occurs.