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Journal Article


Erhardt T. Collision 2008; 3(1): 18-23.


(Copyright © 2008, Collision Publishing)






This article describes a testing exercise that was performed to investigate how well an airbag control module (ACM) could survive in a vehicle fire. The challenges in obtaining a vehicle and preparing for the fire are explained. A total of three ACMs were placed in a wrecked vehicle that had experienced an airbag deployment. The original ACM was kept in its installed position for the duration of the fire, the second ACM was rigged to be pulled out four minutes after the fire started, and the third was to be pulled out eight minutes after the fire started. Before the fire, the data from each ACM was downloaded to compare to the information obtained after the fire. The fire was allowed to burn for 20 minutes, almost completely destroying the interior of the vehicle. The wire on the ACM that was to be pulled out after 8 minutes broke free and the unit had to stay through the entire event. After the fire event, this unit was found to be virtually destroyed and no information could be obtained from it. The other two units were slightly damaged but their information could easily be retrieved. This experiment suggests that an ACM, when mounted to the vehicle frame, can survive a significant fire and still provide valuable data.


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