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Read the article, Airbags: A Hazard in Your Dashboard, at the following website and complete the questions below. The Why Files: http://whyfiles.org/032air_bag/index.html


What is the intended purpose of an air bag? The intended purpose of an airbag is to protect people from the urge to disobey warnings. 2. According to the article, what is the major concern with air bags? Major concern is that there is no other way to make the automotive airbag anything other than inherently dangerous fail-unsafe explosive device. 3. What is being done to make airbags safer? 4. According to the article, what are three rules for drivers of cars with passenger-side air bags? 1. All kids in the back seat, properly restrained for their age and size. 2. Never put a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat. 3. If a child absolutely must ride in the front, use proper restraints and slide the seat back.


What gas fills up the air bag? Nitrogen gas fills the air bag. 6. Explain how an air bag works. If you run into something, your air bag inflates to protect you from the forces of a head-on collision. 7. How long does it take for an airbag to inflate? In less than a tenth of a second, the air bag inflates. II. Go to the following website to complete the questions. Scientific American: www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-airbags-work

8. What are 3 places in a working car that definitely use chemistry? 1. air bag 2. engine 3. battery 9. What is the main reaction that produces the gas that fills up the airbag? Sodium azide, NaN3 10. Explain what prompts an airbag to inflate. First the cars sensor detects a collision. These sensors send a signal to the canister that contains the sodium azide and then the nitrogen gas fills the airbag. III. Go to the following website to complete the questions.

Gas Laws Save Lives: The Chemistry Behind Airbags http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Airbags/airbags.html 11. Why was there a 30 year span in the technology for airbags and their implementation? There was a 30 year span in the technology for airbags and their implementation because the bag must inflate within 40 milliseconds and the system had to develop a system that would detect the difference between a severe collision and a minor fender-bender. 12. How are airbags kept from deploying when there is not collision? It keeps the airbag from redistributing. 13. Write and balance the 3 reactions that occur when an airbag is deployed [assume a 1:1 ratio for all substances in the rxn where alkaline silicate is a product]. 1. NaN3 Na +N2 2. 12Na +2KO3 K2O + 6Na2O + N2 3. K2O + Na2O + SiO2 alkaline silicate (glass) 14. Discuss the safety of the following reactants/products: N2: Nitrogen gas, safe NaN3: Sodium nitride, highly toxic Na: Sodium, safe K2O: Potassium oxide, highly reactive Sodium silicate glass: harmless and stable 15. For an airbag to cushion a person in a collision, it must inflate within _40 milliseconds_ and it must automatically begin to deflate. Explain how the deflation happens. 16. Why are airbags hazardous if they are not deployed before the car is flattened and recycled at the end of the cars lifetime? Are not hazardous because the airbags still contain sodium azide which can harm workers and the overall environment of the work place. IV. Stoichiometry SHOW ALL WORK

17. Using your balanced chemical equation from #13, how many grams of sodium azide is required to inflate an airbag to 67 L at STP [assume this requires 67L of the gas solve for the product that is a gas]?

18. Based on the amount of sodium azide required from #17, what mass sodium is produced?

19. 20.

How many grams of potassium nitrate are needed to completely react with the sodium? (use balanced equation form #13). Explain why stoichiometry is important in the chemistry of airbags. When the car undergoes a head-on collision, a series of three chemical reactions inside the gas generator produce gas (N2) to fill the airbag and convert NaN3, which is highly toxic (The maximum concentration of NaN3 allowed in the workplace is 0.2 mg/m3 air.), to harmless glass (Table 1). Sodium azide (NaN3) can decompose at 300oC to produce sodium metal (Na) and nitrogen gas (N2).