Energy absorbing rearview mirror assembly

  • US 5,521,760 A
  • Filed: 07/11/1994
  • Issued: 05/28/1996
  • Est. Priority Date: 07/11/1994
  • Status: Expired due to Term
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First Claim
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1. An energy absorbing, prismatic rearview mirror assembly for use on the interior of a vehicle of the type equipped with an air bag/supplemental occupant restraint system, said assembly comprising:

  • a mirror case having a peripheral rim defining an opening in said case;

    a prismatic, glass mirror element mounted within said mirror case, said mirror element having a front surface adjacent said rim and a rear surface facing the interior of said mirror case;

    a light reflective layer on said rear surface of said mirror element;

    a day/night actuator mounted within said mirror case adjacent said rear surface of said mirror element, said actuator being movable to move said mirror element between a day position in which light is reflected from said reflective layer to a viewer and a night position in which a reduced amount of light is reflected from said front surface of said mirror element to a viewer;

    a support arm mounted on said actuator to support said assembly on the vehicle;

    an anti-scatter layer on said rear surface of said mirror element; and

    an energy absorbing plate for protecting said mirror element in the event of contact by said actuator caused by deployment of an air bag within the vehicle, said plate being located within said mirror case at a position to the rear of said rear surface of said mirror element and between said actuator and said rear surface of said anti-scatter layer, said actuator and support arm being spaced to the rear of said plate, said plate selected to have a sufficient thickness, stiffness and resistance to cracking and permanent deformation to absorb/disperse energy in the event an impact from the direction of said front surface of said mirror element by a deployed air bag within the vehicle causes fracture of said mirror element by said actuator when said assembly is mounted in a vehicle,

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