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Soft bumper

Soft bumper (working like baloons on sides of a ship) to minimize parking and even crash damage
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I saw a movie in youtube, how a man parked his car in a gap so small that there was almost no space left between it and other cars. I felt sorry looking, how he bumped several tens of times into other cars bumpers, so I came an idea-what if car makers add or owners buy soft aftermarket rubber or plastic (either hollow like balloons or not) "cushions" on bumpers of their cars to minimize damage by bumps-while-parking or by slow speed accident? It's pretty obvious, that this invention would minimize damage to paint or even bumpers themselves. Some things like these are already used on small ships, yachts-they look like balloons and are lowered before docking the ship, avoiding scratches and damage to sides of ship. If we build some kind of push feeling switch inside these proposed "cushions", we even could create a "zero distance park-tronic" device, that would show that we had touched another car without making a dent or scratch. Of course, if these "cushions" were dirty with mud, paint of another car would still be scratched, although not as much as from plastic bumper. And if a slow speed accident happens, these "cushions" would absorb a lot of energy in a nondestructive way, thus saving bumper from damage and owner from spending money on a new bumper.
dreamtechnics, Dec 09 2011

IIHS bumper tests http://www.iihs.org...persbycategory.aspx
3-6mph tests. Yikes. [DIYMatt, Dec 09 2011]

What a bumper should look like http://www.team-bhp...-india-dsc08010.jpg
The black strip on the front is the hard rubber. [DIYMatt, Dec 09 2011]

[link]






       Back when Mercedes were good (1985) they had steel bumpers with a 3" thick rubber strip on the outside - presumably for ramming lesser cars out of the way.
DIYMatt, Dec 09 2011
  

       I strongly suspect that car manufacturers have realized that they can make another 10-20% on the cost of the car by selling replacement "bumpers" from time to time. In fact, the term "bumper" is no longer applicable, since the plastic panels are big, brittle, non-repairable, and usually house a variety of expensive components such as lights and parking sensors. Perhaps the term "sacrificial body-panel" is more appropriate.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 09 2011
  

       Actually the motivations are much more simple: minimize cost and weight, and maximize crash energy absorbtion.
RayfordSteele, Dec 09 2011
  

       //maximize crash energy absorbtion.// Bumpers haven't done that in 20 years. I remember seeing some videos of a test done several years ago. It found that most cars have such awful bumpers that they will suffer thousands of dollars of damage from crashes under 5mph. Let me look for that link.
DIYMatt, Dec 09 2011
  

       [DIY] Bumpers have gone from devices to prevent damage during low energy impacts to devices intended to absorb some of the energy from high energy impacts.   

       This is far more likely to keep the passenger alive in a high speed incident, but will be much more expensive at lower speeds.
MechE, Dec 09 2011
  

       You're confusing bumpers with crumple zones. At high enough speeds for crumple zones to come into play, bumpers will make a negligible difference. They are basically hollow plastic.
DIYMatt, Dec 09 2011
  

       No I'm not. Many bumpers contain molded in place foam, with quite a bit of energy absorption capacity. Unfortunately, it doesn't prevent the outer layer of plastic from cracking.
MechE, Dec 09 2011
  

       I do a tidy side business fabbing real steel bumpers to go on modern pickups that, despite all pretenses of machismo, are factory-equipped with flimsy plastic shells that crack and fall off the truck when struck by a handful of wet cookie dough. Crumple zones are one thing, but what they're passing off as bumpers these days are pathetic.
Alterother, Dec 09 2011
  

       One notice regarding bumper quality-when you crash yours, you can buy a cheaper taiwanese one, that is often even more rigid than original
dreamtechnics, Dec 13 2011
  

       back when I was working in the car repair industry (5-6 years ago now) it opened my eyes as to how much technology is in the typical "bumper". They're often plastic or GRP because the sorts of compound curves with multiple cut outs for lights and grilles are simply impossible or expensive with metal. The compound curves are necessary because a: they look cool and b: they aid massively in aerodynamics. Crucially, keeping the weight of the bumper down means that a smaller proportion of the weight is outside the wheelbase, which means the car will handle better.   

       Also, there's considerable thought that's gone into how they perform in a crash. If you're going to have a crash, you WANT all the non-person components to absorb all the energy and destroy themselves. Simply take a look at a 180mph F1 car crash. The only thing left is the driver and the small safety cell around him. Behind the bumpers are often one-shot friction dampers (at least on BMWs....) to take the next load of energy out of the crash. Given that (at least in the UK) road deaths have halved twice between '85 and '05, I'd say they're doing a good job.   

       If you're looking for a bumper protector for parking situations, Google "Bumper Bully" it's baked.
bs0u0155, Dec 14 2011
  

       Compound curves in metal are hardly impossible, as any talented panel-beater will tell you. Expensive, yes. These days, it's the sort of thing you buy for looks. I've installed masterfully-beaten panels (made in collusion with another craftsman; not my art) on a couple of the rugged tough- truck bumpers I've created.   

       I've never made a steel bumper for anything but a 4x4, nor would I; beyond sheer tastelessness, it would be dangerous and irresposible, not to mention frustrating. I have enough trouble fitting and balancing the sensors found inside truck bumpers, which tend to be pretty minimalist. I wouldn't even begin to know how to adapt them to a 'soft' bumper.
Alterother, Dec 14 2011
  

       I think the bumpers scratch easily specifically in order to make people scared to hit something. Otherwise you'd have drivers purposely nudging other cars and ramming into them out of anger.   

       Incidentally, police cars in NYC do have rubber bumper extensions, presumably to protect their bumpers, since police often purposely ram into things (I guess).
phundug, Dec 15 2011
  

       Police take special classes on how to use their cars as rams (the most common technique is called the PIT maneuver), and a variety of aftermarket 'cop bumpers' exist to facilitate such actions.
Alterother, Dec 16 2011
  
      
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