Technology Four lessons on the windshield taught by Fernando Alonso's...

Four lessons on the windshield taught by Fernando Alonso's accident in the Dakar

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Updated:01/16/2020 01: 36h

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The windshield is a key element in road safety and the accident suffered by Fernando Alonso in the tenth stage of the Dakar has helped the public to see in a very graphic way the importance of this element.

1. Structural Strength

The Spanish pilot and his co-pilot, Marc Coma, overturned at the beginning of the stage when facing a dune at too much speed. Racing cars such as those participating in the Dakar have roll cages, a network of metal pipes that protect the cabin from impacts. Despite this, the windshield also helped support the roof of the vehicle in the two bell turns it suffered, and proof of this is that it ended up shattered without having received a direct impact. In street cars, without a safety cage, their role in providing structural strength and supporting the roof of the car in case of overturning is vital.

2. The laminated windshield, a life-saving invention

In this accident you can also clearly see the safety provided by a laminated windshield: when it breaks, it does not jump into a thousand pieces and prevents injuries to the occupants for this reason. The windshield of the car of Alonso breaks, but it is in a piece, with the fragments of material adhered to the layer or intermediate plastic layers. According to the regulations of the Dakar, the windshield of cars of category T1 must be laminated glass.

The laminated windshield is one of the inventions of the car that has saved more lives and injuries. It was discovered by chance in 1903, when the French inventor Edouard Benedictus dropped a glass of glass and did not break into a thousand pieces. The cause? That glass had contained cellulose nitrate and the dried film that remained on the glass held the pieces together when it broke.

3. Visibility and protection

Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma also suffered first-hand losing the two main functions of the windshield; The first, improve visibility. Both were forced to remove the windshield because it was impossible to drive at full speed with it installed. The second, protect from wind, sand and other objects that may enter the cabin. This is important rolling in the desert and meeting other competitors along the way; and even more at a stage that had to be suspended due to strong gusts of wind and poor visibility in the desert.

4. Substitution

Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma will have to mount themselves – or with the help of other participants in the race – a new windshield in their car when arriving at the assistance zone, as it is a 'marathon' type stage, in which no assistance by team mechanics is allowed.

The assembly of a windshield is not a simple task, as detailed by the specialized company Carglass, and a defective assembly can cause breakage due to stress. In addition to having experience and knowledge, you have to use good materials (such as the type of polyurethane used to glue it) and have the right tools.

. (tagsToTranslate) lessons (t) alonso (t) dakar

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