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Airbag / air pocket

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
OK, here is a question from someone who knows nothing about airbags and never skis off-piste ....

I've looked at a few videos of airbags deploying and they seem to do a good job of keeping the victim above the snow. Is that always the case? I only ask because I've noticed, I think, that airbags seem to inflate mostly behind the wearer. Why wouldn't it be better if they inflated in such a way that they almost surround the entire head? That way they would provide better impact protection and, if they eventually deflate, leave behind a much bigger air pocket for anyone buried. I'm sure there are good reasons why not, but I was curious. Anyone care to enlighten me?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@foxtrotzulu, The Mammut Protection series offer the most protection, as the surround your head, but also restricts vision.

As far as I am aware, only the Jetforce battery packs deflate quicky (after 3 minutes) to provide an air pocket.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@PowderAdict,
Quote:

The Mammut Protection series offer the most protection, as the surround your head, but also restricts vision.

Ah, Good point. I'd forgotten about the fact that you might need to retain some vision. I was thinking of them a bit more like car airbags.
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Snowpulse which I think became the Mammut series did used to market themselves on this head protection. Trade off was that it meant the airbag had to be contained in shoulder straps which were bulky and inflexible. Owners said they didn't find it a problem but I found it uncomfortable when trying to choose a pack. and a pack you aren't wearing because its uncomfortable isn't much use.

I'm also not sure the head is your biggest vulnerability in a avy, particularly if you are already wearing a helmet. Yes you might get pounded into a rock or tree but I understand crush injuries of the chest and torso are the most common fatal trauma. Not got the stats on that though.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
My guess is it doesn’t make too much difference. If you are swept over a cliff or pounded by rocks and trees you’re in trouble either way. The hope with an airbag, whatever type, is that you are not totally buried.
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The physics behind an airbag relates to the behaviour of multi-phase flows; in this case pulverised snow and air. Objects of larger volume will rise to the surface when multi-phase regimes exist (that is, agitated snow/air mix in an avalanche). An airbag increases your volume and hence increases your chances of ending up on top of the snow.

Not a lot of good in a wet snow avalanche as you will be crushed.
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