Car Tech A to Z: I is for Inconel and in-car protection

21 Jul, 2017 4:20pm

The letter I in our A to Z of car tech explains the nickel-chromium alloy Inconel, plus in-car protection in the form of airbags

The technology contained within the modern motor car can be both fascinating and slightly baffling. Most such technology exists to make our cars safer, more efficient and just better than ever to drive but some of it can be quite confusing for the average motorist. In this A to Z series we will attempt to unravel the mystery of technology that is the modern motor car. This week, we’re visiting the letter I…

I is for…Inconel. Inconel is a nickel-chromium alloy metal that can withstand temperatures from well below zero to over 100 degrees centigrade, which makes it the perfect material for the construction of an exhaust system. Not only does it help generate a unique exhaust note, but it also saves 16kg compared with an equivalent stainless steel exhaust.

I is for…in-car protection. Or airbags, to put it another way. The airbag itself was invented in the 1970s but modern systems have become a lot more sophisticated, and are a lot more effective in reducing passenger injuries in an accident.

Some airbags have a so-called ‘soft landing technology’ that pre-judges the size and weight of the occupants and adjusts the airbag accordingly. Anti-whiplash systems also move the headrests forwards slightly to support the neck in a collision, and the car then sends out an immediate text message to the emergency services once an airbag has deployed. Never before have you been safer travelling inside a car that’s involved in an accident thanks to such technology.

Next, the letter J…

A-Z of car tech

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