Re: Impact safety (was Re: Fuel cells)

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 6 Jun 1999 20:33:58 -0700 (PDT)

James Rogers writes:

> The vehicle arms race does seem to be taking off. People who drive my
> Bronco immediately notice that they get a lot more "respect" when driving
> on the road. Instead of being rude, people get out of your way. But when
> I drive small sedans...

You used the correct word: "arms race". I wouldn't notice anything in a collision with a SUV if I drove Leo armor. Expenses for fuel would be somewhat high, but you sure can't beat the safety features.

It is possible to create lightweight composite which absorbs impact energy by deforming (polymer or metal foam, etc.), however. Unfortunately, the human brain is a bottleneck. Being semifloating in liquor, it tends to bump into the scull upon decceleration -- so helding a person rigidly at impact in an unyielding vehicle is exactly the wrong way to address things (which also limits achievable accelerations in linear mass drivers). Perhaps we should be driving in foam bubbles.