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What chemicals are used in the air bags?

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November 30, 2009 1:25AM

Initially, air bags contain sodium azide (NaN3), which is ignited to produce nitrogen gas and sodium. The nitrogen gas is what inflates the air bag. Another reaction occurs, including sodium and potassium nitrate which produce more nitrogen gas, potassium oxide and sodium oxide. Potassium oxide and sodium oxide are quite harmful, so they are then neutralized with silicon dioxide to produce silica glass (K4SiO4 and Na4SiO4).