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Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Quarterly, Fall 2002
Versatile Explosives
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Defense Transformation
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Airbag Basics

Diagram of airbag inflation
The basics of airbag inflation. (Left) An undeployed airbag is folded within a car's steering wheel, its sodium azide–containing inflator attached to the crash sensor in the steering column. (Right) Activated by a crash (arrows), the sensor triggers the inflator to produce an electric spark that ignites the sodium azide, which rapidly produces nitrogen gas that inflates the airbag.

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