Almost all of us drive our cars everyday to work. We use all safety provisions available in the car. However, we rarely think about the use of fabrics therein. I am not talking about the seat covers or other upholstery, which are of course, an important automotive textile. Here, I am talking about other fabrics- the narrow fabrics- particularly the webbings used in cars and other transportations. These webbings provide ultimate motor vehicle safety and are indispensable components of automotive, even more for racing and sports cars. Let’s explore how webbings are used in automotive industry and in what ways they make our driving experience safe and secured.
How Webbings are Used in Cars?
Webbing is a strong, closely woven, narrow fabric. It is used more commonly as safety harness. A safety harness is a protective equipment meant for protecting people, animals or objects from injury or damage. A seat belt, over-the-shoulder restraints used on roller coaster trains, full body harness used by fighter pilots, bungee jumping ropes- all of them are the examples of safety harness. However, the following paragraphs discuss the use of webbings in cars.
Seat Belts: A seat belt is an energy absorbing equipment which is meant to protect a person’s body in the event of crash down. It keeps the load imposed on the victim’s body in such an event. It allows the wearer to move forward for about thirty centimeters at the maximum avoiding contact with any immovable parts of the car. Nylon webbings had been the choice for seat belts till sometimes ago. However, due to its higher stretchability as compared to that of polyester webbings, the scope its of application has got limited. The strong polyester webbings that have lower rate of elongation under load are now the first choice for seat belts.
HANS Device: The Head and Neck Support device, or the HANS device- as it is popularly called- is a safety equipment compulsorily installed in racing sports cars. It minimizes the chances of head and neck injuries in the event of a crash. This U-shaped device is attached only to the helmet and not to the belts, driver’s body, or seat. Attachment is done with the help of two anchors on either side, much like the Hutchens device but placed slightly back. Hutchens Device is a harness that transfers head and neck loads to the seat belts. HANS device uses webbing tethers for attaching the driver’s helmet to the collar. The Hutchens device is made almost entirely of webbing.
Window Nets: The window nets are meant for protecting the driver of a racing car whenever the speedy cars roll over during a racing event. They also prevent objects from entering the driver compartment. The driver’s upper body parts are made safe with the use of seatbelt and HANS device, his legs are also tucked down under the dash hoops and they, in fact, don’t experience much motion. Arms remain the only vulnerable part of the body and window nets effectively protect them. Mostly made of polypropylene webbings, window nets are attached to the roll cage itself, so that arms don’t get crushed between body and cage. They prevent the driver’s arms from coming out in the any unwanted event.
The above description goes to show that narrow fabrics like webbings, in spite of their smaller structure, are no less important. They provide unimaginable safety to the car occupants, proving their worth as equivalent to other fabrics.