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Title:
A VEHICLE AIR-BAG
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/001979
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A vehicle air-bag (1) comprising first and second layers of fabric (2, 3) which each comprise a plurality of interwoven warp and weft yarns an inlet aperture (4) positioned in at least one of the first and second layers of fabric (2, 3), the inlet aperture (4) being configured to be connected to a source of gas; a chamber (6) which is at least partly provided between the first and second layers of fabric (2, 3), the chamber (6) being in fluid communication with the inlet aperture (4) and configured to be inflated by gas from the inlet aperture (4) and an elongate tether (8) comprising a first portion (9) which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn (10a) in a first part (11) of the air-bag (1) a second portion (12) which is not interwoven with any warp yarns, the second portion (12) of the tether (8) extending from the first part of the air-bag (11) to a second part of the air-bag (1) and a third portion (13) which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn (10b) in the second part of the air-bag (1), such that the interweaving of the first and third portions (9, 13) of the tether (8) modifies the structural properties of the first and second parts of the air-bag (1), wherein at least one of the first and second parts of the air-bag (1) is positioned at or adjacent to the inlet aperture (4).

Inventors:
WOOTTON, Gary (42 Castle Road, Mow Cop, Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire ST7 3PH, ST7 3PH, GB)
FINN, Hugh (26 Bowden Close, Culcheth Warrington WA3 4LG, WA3 4LG, GB)
Application Number:
EP2017/065737
Publication Date:
January 04, 2018
Filing Date:
June 26, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
AUTOLIV DEVELOPMENT AB (Wallentinsvägen 22, Vårgårda, 44783, SE)
WOOTTON, Gary (42 Castle Road, Mow Cop, Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire ST7 3PH, ST7 3PH, GB)
FINN, Hugh (26 Bowden Close, Culcheth Warrington WA3 4LG, WA3 4LG, GB)
International Classes:
B60R21/2338; B60R21/235; D03D1/02
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A vehicle air-bag (1 ) comprising:

first and second layers of fabric (2, 3) which each comprise a plurality of interwoven warp and weft yarns;

an inlet aperture (4) positioned in at least one of the first and second layers of fabric (2, 3), the inlet aperture (4) being configured to be connected to a source of gas;

a chamber (6) which is at least partly provided between the first and second layers of fabric (2, 3), the chamber (6) being in fluid communication with the inlet aperture (4) and configured to be inflated by gas from the inlet aperture (4); and

an elongate tether (8) comprising:

a first portion (9) which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn (10a) in a first part (11 ) of the air-bag (1 );

a second portion (12) which is not interwoven with any warp yarns, the second portion (12) of the tether (8) extending from the first part of the air-bag (11 ) to a second part of the air-bag (1 ); and a third portion (13) which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn (10b) in the second part of the air-bag (1 ), such that the interweaving of the first and third portions (9, 13) of the tether (8) modifies the structural properties of the first and second parts of the air-bag (1 ), wherein at least one of the first and second parts of the air-bag (1 ) is positioned at or adjacent to the inlet aperture (4).

2. The vehicle air-bag of claim 1 , wherein the combined length of the first, second and third portions (9, 12, 13) of the tether (8) is substantially equal to the entire length of the tether (8).

3. The vehicle air-bag of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the weft sett of the first and second layers of fabric (2, 3) is a first predetermined amount and the weft sett at the first and second parts of the air-bag (1 ) is a second predetermined amount which is lower than the first predetermined amount.

4. The vehicle air-bag of claim 3, wherein the second predetermined weft sett is between 12/cm and 20/cm.

5. The vehicle air-bag of claim 3, wherein the gas permeability of the first and second parts of the air-bag (1 ) is between 0 and 4 I /dm2.

6. The vehicle air-bag of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the air- bag further comprises:

a reinforcing element which is attached to one of the first and second layers of fabric (2, 3) at or adjacent to the inlet aperture (4).

7. The vehicle air-bag of claim 6, wherein the reinforcing element is a Y- sock. 8. The air-bag of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the tear strength of at least one of the layers of fabric (2, 3) of the air-bag (1 ) is a first predetermined tear strength and the tear strength of each of the first and second parts of the air-bag (1 ) is a second predetermined tear strength which is greater than the first predetermined tear strength.

9. The air-bag of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the tensile strength of at least one of the layers of fabric (2, 3) of the air-bag (1 ) is a first predetermined tensile strength and the tensile strength of each of the first and second parts of the air-bag (1 ) is a second predetermined tensile strength which is greater than the first predetermined tensile strength.

10. The vehicle air-bag of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the tether further comprises:

a fourth portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in a third part of the air-bag (1 );

a fifth portion which is not interwoven with any warp yams, the fifth portion of the tether extending from the third part of the air-bag to a fourth part of the air-bag (1 ); and

a sixth portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in the fourth part of the air-bag (1 ).

11. The vehicle air-bag of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the air- bag (1 ) is one of a pedestrian protecting air-bag or a curtain air-bag.

12. A vehicle air-bag module comprising the vehicle air-bag (1 ) of any one of the preceding claims.

Description:
Title: A vehicle air-bag

Description of Invention

This invention relates to a vehicle air-bag and more particularly a vehicle air-bag which incorporates an internal tether.

A vehicle air-bag typically comprises two layers of fabric which are each formed from interwoven warp and weft yarns. Air-bags are often manufactured using one piece weaving techniques since this can be done rapidly in a single operation on a weaving loom.

It is known to provide a tether between parts of an air-bag to restrict the expansion or movement of the air-bag when the air-bag is inflated. Tethers are often provided in a pedestrian protecting air-bag or a curtain air-bag to maintain the air-bag in an appropriate shape, upon inflation. The tethers extend across the internal chamber of the air-bag and are connected to the fabric layers of the air-bag to control the depth or the thickness of parts of the air-bag, upon inflation.

The tethers are formed from a plurality of tether yarns which are connected along short portions of the fabric of the air-bag. Unused lengths of the tether yarns are typically left to hang freely within the air-bag because it is difficult to cut and remove the unused lengths of tether yarns.

The unused lengths of tether yarns do not interfere with the inflation of the air- bag. However, the unused lengths of tether yarns extend across the internal chamber of the air-bag, making it difficult to insert reinforcing elements into the air-bag during manufacture. For instance, the unused lengths of tether yarns make it difficult to insert plastic or fabric reinforcements to reinforce a portion of the air-bag.

There is a need for an improved vehicle air-bag which alleviates at least the problems outlined above.

The present invention seeks to provide an improved vehicle air-bag.

According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a vehicle air- bag comprising: first and second layers of fabric which each comprise a plurality of interwoven warp and weft yarns; an inlet aperture positioned in at least one of the first and second layers of fabric, the inlet aperture being configured to be connected to a source of gas; a chamber which is at least partly provided between the first and second layers of fabric, the chamber being in fluid communication with the inlet aperture and configured to be inflated by gas from the inlet aperture; and an elongate tether comprising: a first portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in a first part of the air-bag; a second portion which is not interwoven with any warp yarns, the second portion of the tether extending from the first part of the air-bag to a second part of the air-bag; and a third portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in the second part of the air-bag, such that the interweaving of the first and third portions of the tether modifies the mechanical properties of the first and second parts of the air-bag, wherein at least one of the first and second parts of the air-bag is positioned at or adjacent to the inlet aperture.

Preferably, the combined lengths of the first, second and third portions of the tether is substantially equal to the entire length of the tether.

Conveniently, the weft sett of the first and second layers of fabric is a first predetermined amount and the weft sett at the first and second parts of the air- bag is a second predetermined amount which is lower than the first predetermined amount.

Advantageously, the second predetermined density is between 12/cm and 20/cm.

Preferably, the gas permeability of the first and second parts of the air-bag is between 0 and 4 l/dm 2 . Conveniently, the air-bag further comprises: a reinforcing element which is attached to one of the first and second layers of fabric at or adjacent to the inlet aperture.

Advantageously, the reinforcing element is a Y-sock.

Preferably, the tear strength of at least one of the layers of fabric of the air-bag is a first predetermined tear strength and the tear strength of each of the first and second parts of the air-bag is a second predetermined tear strength which is greater than the first predetermined tear strength.

Conveniently, the tensile strength of at least one of the layers of fabric of the air- bag is a first predetermined tensile strength and the tensile strength of each of the first and second parts of the air-bag is a second predetermined tensile strength which is greater than the first predetermined tensile strength.

Advantageously, the tether further comprises: a fourth portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in a third part of the air-bag; a fifth portion which is not interwoven with any warp yarns, the fifth portion of the tether extending from the third part of the air-bag to a fourth part of the air-bag; and a sixth portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in the fourth part of the air-bag. Preferably, the air-bag is one of a pedestrian protecting air-bag or a curtain air- bag. According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a vehicle air-bag module comprising the vehicle air-bag as defined in any one of claims 1 to 11 hereinafter.

So that the present invention may be more readily understood, embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a diagrammatic view of an air-bag showing a throat portion of the air- bag,

Figure 2 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a tether which is interwoven with warp yarns of an air-bag of an embodiment of the invention,

Figure 3 is a diagrammatic view of an air-bag of an embodiment of the invention, and

Figure 4 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of part of the air-bag shown in figure 3. Referring initially to figure 1 of the accompanying drawings, an air-bag 1 comprises first and second layers of superimposed fabric 2, 3 (only one of which is visible in figure 1 ). The layers of fabric each comprise a plurality of interwoven warp and weft yarns. In this embodiment, the layers of fabric 2, 3 are manufactured using a one piece weaving technique. In this embodiment, the air-bag 1 is a pedestrian protecting air-bag. However, in other embodiments, the air-bag 1 is a curtain or integrated curtain air-bag. It is to be appreciated that, in other embodiments of the invention, the air-bag 1 may be yet another type of air-bag.

The air-bag 1 comprises an inlet aperture 4 which is provided in at least one of the first and second layers of fabric 2, 3. In this embodiment, the inlet aperture 4 is formed between the two superimposed layers of fabric 2, 3. The inlet aperture 4 is configured to be connected to a source of gas (not shown), such as a pyrotechnic gas generator.

The inlet aperture 4 is provided at one end of an optional inlet conduit 5. The other end of the inlet conduit 5 is in fluid communication with a chamber 6 which is at least partly provided between the superimposed first and second layers of fabric 2, 3. The air-bag 1 is configured such that gas introduced into the inlet aperture 4 will flow into the chamber 6 to inflate the air-bag 1 .

A throat portion 7 of the air-bag 1 is positioned at or adjacent to the inlet aperture 4. The throat portion 7 comprises portions of the first and second layers of fabric 2, 3 of the air-bag 1 that are subject to high forces and high temperatures from gas which is injected into the air-bag 1 when the air-bag 1 is inflated. In this embodiment, the throat portion 7 of the air-bag 1 comprises portions of the first and second layers of fabric 2, 3 which are acted on directly by gas injected into the air-bag during inflation.

In further embodiments, the air-bag 1 is reinforced at the throat portion 7 by a reinforcing element (not shown). The reinforcing element is mounted within the throat portion 7 to protect the throat portion 7 from the high temperature gases that are introduced into the air-bag upon inflation. The reinforcing element is, in one embodiment, a Y-sock which is of a plastic and/or fabric material. The reinforcing element is inserted into the chamber 6 of the air-bag 1 during manufacture. In embodiments where the air-bag 1 is a one piece woven air- bag, the reinforcing element is inserted into the chamber 6, through the inlet aperture 4, after the one piece weaving process is complete. Referring now to figures 2 to 4 of the accompanying drawings, the air-bag 1 comprises an elongate tether 8 which, in this embodiment, comprises a plurality of tether yarns. For simplicity, the plurality of tether yarns will be referred to as "a tether" in the following description. The tether 8 is connected between the first and second layers of fabric 2, 3 to restrict or modify the shape of the air-bag as the air-bag 1 is inflated. In this embodiment, the tether 8 is configured to control the thickness or depth of the air-bag 1 by restricting the expansion of portions of the chamber 6 as the air- bag 1 is inflated.

A first portion 9 of the tether 8 is interwoven with a plurality of warp yarns 10a in a first part 11 of the air-bag 1. In other embodiments, the first portion 9 of the tether 8 is interwoven with at least one warp yarn 10a in the first part 11 of the air-bag 1.

A second portion 12 of the tether 8 is not interwoven with any warp yarns of the air-bag 1. The second portion 12 of the tether 8 extends from the first layer of fabric 2 of the air-bag 1 to the second layer of fabric 3 of the air-bag 1 , as shown in figure 4. The second portion 12 of the tether 8 functions as a tether which restricts or modifies the shape of the air-bag 1 , upon inflation.

A third portion 13 of the tether 8 is interwoven with a plurality of warp yarns 10b of the second layer of fabric 3 of the air-bag 1 to attach the tether 8 to the second layer of fabric 3. In other embodiments, the third portion 13 of the tether 8 is interwoven with at least one warp yarn 10b in a second part 14 of the air-bag 1 to attach the tether 8 to the second fabric layer 3 of the air-bag 1. Referring now to figure 3 of the accompanying drawings, the first and third portions 9, 13 of the tether 8 are, in this embodiment, interwoven with warp yarns 10a, 10b in the layers of fabric 2, 3 such that the first and third portions 9, 13 are integrated into the layers of fabric 2, 3 of the air-bag 1. The first and third portions 9, 13 of the tether 8 are thus hidden, as indicated by the letter H in figure 3, and the first and third portions 9, 13 of the tether 8 do not hang freely within the chamber 6 of the air-bag 1. The second portion 12 of the tether 8 functions as a tether to control the shape of the air-bag 1 upon inflation and is indicated by the letter T in figure 3.

The air-bag 1 , of this embodiment of the invention, comprises a plurality of tethers which are interwoven with a plurality of different parts of the fabric of the air-bag 1 , as indicated by the letters H in figure 3. Parts of the air-bag 1 which do not comprise an interwoven portion of a tether and which do not have a portion of a tether extending across between the layers of fabric 2, 3 of the air- bag 1 are indicated with the letters PL in figure 3.

In this embodiment, the combined lengths of the first, second and third portions 9, 12 and 13 of the tether 8 are substantially equal to the entire length of the tether 8. The air-bag 1 does not comprise any unused portions of the tether 8 which hang freely within the chamber 6. Consequently, there are no unused portions of the tether 8 which block or otherwise hamper the insertion of a reinforcing element into the chamber 6 of the air-bag 1 during manufacture.

In a further embodiment, the tether 8 further comprises a fourth portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in a third part of the air-bag 1. A fifth portion of the tether 8 is not interwoven with any warp yarn and extends from the third part of the air-bag 1 to a fourth part of the air-bag 1. The tether 8 further comprises a sixth portion which is interwoven with at least one warp yarn in the fourth part of the air-bag 1. In addition to "hiding" the unused portions of the tether 8 by interweaving the unused portions with warp yarns of the fabric layers 2, 3, the interweaving modifies the structural or mechanical properties of the layers of fabric 2, 3. Integrating the unused portions of the tether 8 in the fabric layers 2, 3 increases the tear strength of the layers of fabric 2, 3 to between 80 and 300N in one embodiment or to between 300 and 800N in another embodiment and/or the tensile strength of the layers of fabric 2, 3 to between 2200N and 2900N in one embodiment or to between 3000N and 5000N in another embodiment. This increase in the tear and/or tensile strength is an additional benefit over and above the benefit of hiding unused portions of the tether 8 to facilitate the manufacture of the air-bag 1.

In an embodiment of the invention, the integration of the unused portions of the tether in the fabric layers 2, 3 enables the weft sett to be reduced in the parts of the air-bag 1 that comprise the interwoven tether 8. The reduction of the weft sett increases the gas permeability of those parts of the first and second layers of fabric 2, 3 as compared with the remainder of the layers of fabric 2, 3 of the air-bag 1. This increase in the gas permeability is desirable since it helps control the pressure within the air-bag 1 at high stress areas of the fabric of the air-bag 1 which minimises the possibility of the layers of fabric 2, 3 becoming over stressed and rupturing the tether 8 when the air-bag 1 is inflated.

In one embodiment of the invention, the weft sett of the first and second layers of fabric 2, 3 is a first predetermined amount and the weft sett at the parts of the air-bag 1 where the tether 8 is interwoven with the warp and weft yarns is a second predetermined amount which is lower than the first predetermined amount. In a preferred embodiment, the weft sett of the parts of the air-bag where the tether 8 is interwoven with the first and second layers of fabric 2, 3 is between 12/cm and 20/cm. In a further embodiment, the weft sett is between 20/cm and 26/cm. In a preferred embodiment, the gas permeability of the layers of fabric 2, 3 of the air-bag 1 where the tether 8 is interwoven with the warp and weft yarns is between 0 and 4 l/dm 2 .

When used in this specification and the claims, the term "comprises" and "comprising" and variations thereof mean that specified features, steps or integers and included. The terms are not to be interpreted to exclude the presence of other features, steps or compounds.

The features disclosed in the foregoing description, or the following claims, or the accompanying drawings, expressed in their specific forms or in terms of a means for performing the disclosed function, or a method or process for attaining the disclosed result, as appropriate, may, separately, or in any combination of such features, be utilized for realising the invention in diverse forms thereof.