The Chemistry Behind the Air Bag or: High Tech in First Year Chemistry
The Journal of Chemical Education
The chemical process of air bag deployment provides practical applications of gas laws and stoichiometric equations appropriate for use in first-year chemistry. In case of an accident the mixture of NaN3, KNO3, and SiO2 in the gas generator is ignited through an electrical impulse which triggers deflagration and the liberation of a precalculated volume of nitrogen gas. Subsequent reactions transform byproducts into stable, non-toxic compounds. This process lends itself as an illustration of gas laws in modern technology.
Madlung, A.: The Chemistry Behind the Air Bag or: High Tech in First Year Chemistry (1996). Journal of Chemical Education, 73, 347