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What is a Crumple Zone?

Crumple Zone defined

Car crashes are best avoided. However, having an understanding of how your new car performs in a crash may be vital

Modern cars are built with safety in mind. For this reason, cars are built with areas that are designed to deform progressively during a collision. These areas are called crumple-zones. A crumple zone deforms in a controlled manner to absorb some of the energy of the impact.

At first glance, this seems like lunacy. You mean to say that modern cars are designed to crumple up like old beer cans? Why not get a tough old 1950s muscle car with a big, strong bonnet that can take it all on the chin without a dent? Why have crumple zones?

A crumple zone works to manage the crash energy so that it is absorbed within the front section of the vehicle. This is important, because the crumple zone helps prevent the energy intrusion into or deformation of the passenger cabin. The passenger cabin itself is very strong and is reinforced with high strength steel.

If a car had no crumple zones (like the big solid old 1950s cars), the car would be more rigid on impact and the forces on the occupants inside the cabin become higher. The higher the forces that act on a human body in a car crash, the higher the risk of injury and death.

Try the following experiment to see how a crumple zone works. Hold a big, squashy pillow over your chest and ask a friend to hit the pillow hard. You’ll feel some impact, but not too much, as the pillow has acted as a crumple zone and absorbed the impact. Now hold something solid like an oven tray over your chest instead and repeat the experiment (your friend may want to wear boxing gloves). Feel the difference? That is the same difference that a crumple zone makes to your car.

We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is a Crumple Zone?’!

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