Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Airbag safety problem: don't use ammonium nitrate at all (Takata)

WJLA TV (ABC affiliate in Washington DC) made a blunt safety report on the Taka air bag recall Tuesday, by Lisa Fletcher, “Sudden Impact: Is America facing a recall of the Takata Recall?”
Consumer Reports has a recent article (June 30, 2016) of “everything you need to know” here.  About 20% of newer cars, especially “Asian” brands, may be affected.

The problem is that ammonium nitrate can break into a powder in hot weather or with temperature changes and become unstable.  Recent recall fixes seem to involve adding dessicants to the chemical.  But according to some observers, dessicants will only prolong the period where a bag could explode.  NH4-NO3 simply should not be used as an explosive propellant in airbags.  (It’s the same chemical Timothy McVeigh had used in Oklahoma City).

The New York Times has an article to this effect by Hirohito Tabuchi from 2014.  Ammonium nitrate had become the "cheaper propellant".

Autweek  has a recent article on “3 things that makes the Takata airbag rupture. 

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