Car Airbag Equation
The type of equation that causes the air bag to inflate is a decomposition. This is the equation that causes the reaction: 2 NaN3 --> 2 Na + 3 N2
The compound that create the chemical reaction is sodium azide or NaN3. This compound when heated decomposes creating nitrogen gas inflating the air bag.
Nitrogen gas or N2 is the product of of sodium azide when heated. Nitrogen gas is what inflates the air bag.
A sensor in the front of the car detects a collision sending an electric signal to a canister which holds an ignition compound. The heat from the ignition starts the reaction which happens in less than 0.03 seconds.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated as of January 01 2009, 28,000 people were alive because of frontal airbags. 82 percent of peoples lives saved by frontal airbags were drivers, 18 percent of peoples lives saved were front seat passengers.
Percent Saved by Frontal Airbags
82% were drivers. 18% were passengers.
Fatalities and Injuries
As airbags became more common fatalities and injuries both decreased.
Airbags and seat belts significantly reduced head injuries vs seat belts alone.
How an Airbag works