Plezoelectric foil, a material used on spaceships to measure the pressure impacting a shuttle’s wings as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, will be used to enhance the safety tests for automobiles. Volkswagen will begin using the “space foil” to accurately map the surface damage done to a vehicle during collision testing.
The foil was originally developed about twenty years ago by a German engineer who was helping to construct a European spaceplane. Existing gauges were too imprecise and impractical to accurately measure the distribution of the atmospheric pressure upon the plane’s wings, so scientists used the plezoelectric foil, which converts pressure and vibration into small electric impulses. At 30 microns wide, the foil is thin enough to measure the impact done to a surface it covers without compromising the test by significantly changing the objects shape or weight.
Currently, the sensors used in crash tests are often damaged in the tests. By covering a vehicle’s car in the plezoelectric foil, the German automaker can get a more accurate reading on the damage done because the foil will be altered in the same way as the metal beneath it.
As a San Francisco car accident lawyer, I welcome any innovation that makes our vehicles safer. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, please consider retaining the representation of a licensed San Francisco personal injury lawyer.