When it comes to car safety, every engineer and designer is looking to solve the same problem: Reduce damage from a crash as much as possible and secure the health and safety of those inside the vehicle. The answer to that issue? The crumple zone.
What Is The Crumple Zone Of A Car?
The crumple zone is a part of the vehicle specifically designed to absorb and redistribute damage on impact. In each car crash, there’s a set amount of energy that needs to be used up. The better designed the crumple zone, the less energy will be transferred to the passengers.
Practically, the crumple zone is a complex engineering feat made from a combination of specially weakened and reinforced parts of the car’s frame. The weakened parts are designed to fold on themselves, like an accordion, allowing them to absorb far more force on impact than other areas of the car. The reinforced parts are meant to maintain structural integrity and prevent the weakened parts from harming the passengers.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The crumple zone is meant to reduce injuries from head-on collisions and impacts with objects, like trees or light posts. A well-designed crumple zone can reduce damage from front-end and rear-end collisions by as much as 25%. A front-facing crumple zone must be especially resilient because the powerful impact from a head-on collision can force parts from the engine compartment into the passenger’s footwell.
Unfortunately, the crumple zone is almost non-existent on the sides of the vehicle. Most vehicle frames absorb just 5% of the force from a side-impact collision, meaning that “t-bone” crashes tend to result in more serious injuries since there’s little protecting passengers from the other vehicle. When these crashes happen, victims have a right to pursue damages for their injuries.