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Recent discuss of people being injured by airbags got me
thing about how else they could be deployed and I was
struck by the idea of using them for escape.
If a crash could be detected in sufficient time to allow a
hot air balloon to rapidly inflated, the whole vehicle or perhaps just a passenger
or two could float away ...
The traditional explosive charge could start the inflation
of such an air bag, possibly freeing it from a housing on
the roof at the same time. Then it would be a matter of
pumping enough hot air or appropriate gases into the bag
as fast as possible allowing for the rising effect to start.
Rising even a small degree could allow for the vehicle to
knocked away in response to a crash, albeit possibly into
other non-floating cars.
Accidental triggering could actually be quite beautiful as
suddenly a car would be seen to take to the air for no
apparent reason ....
Ford uses Car-Sized Ballons
A different use for hot air and crash testing. Found during my "prior art" Google search. [Aristotle, Mar 28 2009]
Pimp my dirigible.
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 28 2009]
Description of Fast Ascent Ballooning Accident
Account of ballooning accident that caused a rapid ascent, possibly due to a fire in the basket. [Aristotle, Mar 30 2009]
||//detected in sufficient time// ten, fifteen minutes in advance, for instance?
||This is indeed, possibly, a minor draw-back but
there must be a way to vent shedloads of hot
gasses in very short frame. Possibly they are too
dangerous or expensive to be used in commercial
hot air balloon flight but they might be viable in a
safety critical application.
||Once the bugs have been ironed out with crash
test dummies ...
||You say lift the tires a bit off the ground so the car can get "knocked away". Wouldn't this be the opposite effect of what you want? Knocked away quicker=higher acceleration=more pain. What you want is a system that increases your car's mass right before a collision. Or maybe some type of inertial dampener. That would be about as feasible :)
||Even with the infamous vacuum-balloons, you would not get more than 1.3kg lift per m³ - Meaning to only lift the driver (65kg), your explosive charge would have to create a balloon 50m³ big. This would make the driver float, but not rise. To rise with 1g acceleration, -> 100m³; This still needs a crystal ball somewhere in the crash detector. To rise even faster -> bigger balloon, but bigger balloon = higher drag, so there is some ceiling to what you can do.
Maybe something more akin to a rocket seat?
||//What you want is a system that increases your car's mass right before a collision//
Some kind of light-speed drive then?
||One of the problems with this, that I foresaw, was
that detaching the driver could be disastrous
because a partially detached driver even could be
decapitated due to differences that would
develop in the frame of reference between the
driver and the car.
||Unfortunately this does sound like it would do
more to save the car than the driver, even if I
could get it to trigger fast enough, because the
car is better suited to survive the change in
||However I'm still curious about how fast you could
build up the effective lifting power in a balloon
that been prepared with an airbag explosive
charge. I suspect that dumping liquid oxygen on
some sort of combustion might be best bet and a search revealed an account of a fatal accident due
to a fire in the basket (see link) that ascended
faster than expected.