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An Acoustic Study of Airbag Deployment in Vehicles

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This study shows the acoustic pressures produced in typical airbag deployments and introduces the topic to the AES. Two representative vehicles were tested: a 2005 Pontiac Montana SV6 minivan and a 2006 Mazda 3 hatchback. Microphones were placed at the left driver ear, right passenger ear, and rear seat positions. Wideband pressure data was obtained for each of the steering wheel, passenger, and any optional side airbags. Our data agrees with the plethora of studies of earlier work. Weighted and unweighted peak SPL levels are calculated for various deployment scenarios. The influence of the cabin volume and the vents of the vehicles are discussed. Concerns over hearing loss, possible eardrum perforation, and other hearing-related symptoms are considered, gleaned mainly from important earlier studies. Some aspects are counterintuitive.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society