Watch A Takata Airbag Explode In Slow Motion


Last year, owners of vehicles equipped with shrapnel-shooting Takata airbags shared their point of view of the massive safety device recall, likening the situation to driving around with an explosive device in their steering wheel and dashboard. Their description was no doubt frightening, but seeing one of the airbags rupture in real time is even more so. 

Research organization Battelle – which was hired by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop tests to analyze Takata’s airbag defect, not to pinpoint the root cause of the issue – filmed a rupture in slow motion in order to better show the effects of the explosion, WIRED reports. 

The test centers mostly on the small canister found inside an airbag. The canister holds chemicals that eventually cause the airbag to deploy in the event of a crash.

In the case of Takata’s airbags, the canisters contain an ammonium nitrate compound, that some investigators believe could be tied to the excessively violent ruptures.

The video shows the canister suspended between wires.  Soon after, the canister explodes, sending pieces of metal flying in every direction.

While the test obviously wasn’t performed in a vehicle with a person behind the wheel, after seeing the metal spray across the screen one can only imagine the injuries – or worse – that could be sustained.

Battelle tells WIRED that the filmed video, which was shown during a NHTSA hearing on Thursday, is just one example of a Takata airbag rupture.

The company is actually working on large lot tests that allow dozens of airbags to be tested in rapid succession.

“With such a catastrophic potential for failure, the only option is to test a large number of inflators,” Ben Pierce, who runs Battelle’s transportation research group, said.

To further assist in determining the root cause of the airbag ruptures, the organization’s domed testing facility is equipped with pressure sensors and slow-motion cameras, and each canister is given a CT scan before tests.

NHTSA officials said on Thursday that they continue to investigate why the airbags are susceptible to such forceful ruptures.

Watch Takata’s Defective Airbags Explode In Slow Motion  [WIRED]