While some of think of our cars as simply "buckets of bolts", the proper design choices, applications, and assemblies of threaded fasteners/bolted joints play critical roles in automobile safety. Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS), more commonly known as airbags, help prevent vehicle occupants from being thrown forward into the dashboard or windshield in the event of a collision. The components comprising the airbag, the inflator, the backing plate, and the cover are connected to each other, and to the vehicle, through a series of threaded fasteners. Proper and timely deployment of the airbag depends largely on the selection of suitable threaded fasteners at the design stage, appropriate fastener application, and strict adherence to the module assembly process. Selecting suitable fasteners and applying fasteners appropriately requires and understanding of basic fastener concepts: thread definitions, fastener loading terms, stress and strength, and joint failure modes. Knowledge of torque, preload, torque equations, and torque control also is necessary before proper selection and application can occur. The Case Study examines a drivers' side airbag module currently used on a vehicle marketed in the United States and, employing applicable design equations, determines 1.) if the design selection of the threaded fasteners is appropriate, 2.) how the threaded fasteners behave during and after airbag assembly, and during airbag deployment, and 3.) the potential problems arising from loose or missing fasteners. The thesis concludes the design and selection of the fasteners used in the airbag module concurs with the basic principles of threaded joints. Through the cases selected for the modules, the thesis generates several conditions that must be met to prevent joint failures. It is proposed that this research be used to further determine both the design selection of threaded fasteners and the assembly processes of automotive airbag manufacturing.
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Hagedoorn, A. Henry
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Engineering
Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering
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Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Chemat, Rustam, "Analysis of threaded joint behavior in an airbag module assembly" (1996). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 2888.