Sodium azide found use as the active ingredient in auto air bags Properties & Safety Issues
Sodium Azide is a colourless, crystalline, water-soluble salt with a number of properties that make it a useful end of life drug. While (almost) as lethal as cyanide, sodium azide it is easier to obtain and not generally subject to legal restrictions,
Sodium Azide NaN3 is comprised of water-soluble colorless crystals. When heated to >3000C the salt breaks down explosively into sodium and nitrogen. This property led to its use in car collision air bags. If placed in contact with metals, the salt (or solutions of the salt) can form unstable/ explosive azides. Acidification of a solution, or the addition of acid to the salt itself, can also result in the production of highly-toxic hydrazoic acid (HN3) which is a volatile, shock-sensitive explosive gas. Despite this explosive property, a solution of the salt in water is an effective end of life drink. Quantities as little as 2gm will reliably end life. Let us explain.