When I first heard about impact absorbing materials, I have to be honest and admit I had no idea what it was. I decided to do some research on it since my son needed help with a school project, and I am really grateful that I did. I learned that it is a foam that is used almost always in cars. While there can be other uses for it, almost everyone in the industry knows of it because it is used in vehicles as another level of safety. There are a number of reasons why this particular matter is used.
The main reason is because it is so strong. One would associate something strong with being heavy, but it is actually very lightweight. What happens is when the vehicle is involved in an accident, the foam absorbs a good bit of the energy, which results in the passengers in the vehicle sustaining fewer injuries, if any at all. The reason my son had asked me about this in the first place was he was studying about what makes race cars different from regular cars in general, and there is a good bit of the extruded polystyrene used in the production of these cars.
They are more apt to be in an accident just due to the high rate of speed that they are always driven at. When a car clips another or even pushes one into a wall or barrier, the foam is what takes the brunt of the hit. It is hard to believe that something so lightweight can be powerful enough to do that, but it is exactly what happens. I feel confident that this has probably saved a good many lives, and it is just another reason why I am impressed with the engineers who put safety first when designing vehicles for everyone from professional racers to everyday drivers like myself.