How Do Airbags Work?

Explore the chemical reaction that may just save your life! An episode of a comprehensive series covering chemical reactions discusses what triggers the inflation of airbags during a crash. Initiated by an accelerometer, a combustion reaction takes place, releasing nitrogen gas that inflates the bags.

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CCSS: Adaptable
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Instructional Ideas

  • Have learners write and balance the chemical reaction that takes place in the airbags
  • Ask pupils to share personal stories of car accidents if they feel comfortable
Classroom Considerations

  • Recognize that car accidents may be an emotional topic for some individuals

  • Uses a familiar topic to connect scholars to the chemistry topic
  • Includes links to videos that explore additional chemical reactions

  • None