Irp Airbag Lab Report

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IRP Airbag Lab ANONYMOUS 5/12/12 Chemistry Pre-AP Background Info: Airbags are used required in all automobiles in all industrialized nations. Airbags were first invented by Walter Linderer in 1951. This early, primitive airbag was based on a compressed air system in which air was stored under high pressure, and was then released into a bag to stop head injury during a collision. This system was not able to fill the airbag quickly enough to safely stop a driver’s head from hitting the wheel and/or the dashboard. Today’s airbags are much more sophisticated with much faster results. One of the simplest mechanisms that detect rapid frontal deceleration (as experienced during a frontal collision) is a ball that is held in place with a magnet. The ball is dislodged, and moves forward due to inertia when the car decelerates rapidly. The ball then fits in a groove, and completes an electrical circuit that ignites sodium azide. This then causes a chain reaction creating N2 to fill the bag within 40 thousandths of a second. The magnet prevents the airbags from deploying for minor collisions, and bumps. The N2 that is produced fills nylon bags (stored at strategic locations) at velocities of 150 – 250 miles per hour. The ideal airbag has already inflated, and has started to deflate by the time the driver/passenger hits the bag. If the airbag is still inflating when the passenger hits the bag, then the passenger’s head would be thrown back by the force of the bag. This would cause extreme neck, and spine injuries causing either death, or paralysis. The brain would also be thrown from the front of the skull to the back with extreme force causing bruising of the brain that could result in a comatose state, or even death. If the passenger/driver hits the airbag after the bag finished inflating, but before the deflation process has started, then the high pressure of gas

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