BY ALT Technologies | 27th January 2023
In our second article of the Spotlight Series, we discuss airbag inflator seals and how ALT sources only the best quality alloys and adhesives.
Inflator seals (also known as burst seals or burst shims) are crucial components in occupant safety systems, specifically in airbag deployment. ALT has been developing inflator seals for over 15 years, and they are one of our most regulated and tight-spec solutions.
An inflator seal can be made from various metals such as copper, aluminium or stainless steel and literally seals the punch holes in the inflator housing. It breaks when the airbag inflator is activated, as the seal acts as a pressure-release vent. Inflator seals, along with other airbag module components, need to be perfectly measured such that the airbag deploys effectively and at precisely the right moment, to protect the car occupants.
This process depends on the metal alloy and its mechanical values such as tensile strength and thickness, which influences the opening pressure of the airbag . The elongation and hardness of the base material are also critical factors that influence the seal’s behaviour. Material hardness depends on the alloy and temper. Stainless steel is usually the hardest, in comparison to copper, which is in general more soft.
The rolling process at our metal suppliers is of vital importance to procure the right material properties. At ALT, we have the knowledge and experience to select trusted metal suppliers to ensure the base materials remain constant in quality and supply.
Additionally, our extensive background makes us a solid partner to select the right adhesive, whether a pressure sensitive or heat activated adhesive is required. Inflator seal adhesives need to last for at least 20 years, be moisture resistant (a basic sealing function) and have a high peel strength. These qualities need to remain steadfast for the duration of the airbag module. Next to thorough understanding of the adhesive’s features, we can provide full customisation options, such as adding print and see-through backing for error-free automatic dispensing.
As with any automotive development, stringent testing is continuous. Therefore we pay close attention to the finer details, from our quality processes to our automotive industry expertise. If you want to learn more about the intricate inflator seal processes and metal sourcing and adhesive selection, please contact us today for more information.