Problem: Automobile airbags contain solid sodium azide, NaN3, that reacts to produce nitrogen gas when heated, thus inflating the bag. 2NaN3 (s) → 2Na (s) + 3N2 (g) Calculate the value of work (w) in J, for the following system if 33.2 g of NaN3 reacts completely at 1.00 atm and 22 °C.

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We’re being asked to calculate the work for the system if 33.2 g of NaN3 reacts completely at 1.00 atm and 22 ˚C


The given reaction is:

2 NaN3(s)  2 Na(s) + 3 N2(g)


Recall that work (w) is given by:


w=-PΔV


where: 

P = pressure (in atm)

ΔV = Vfinal – Vinitial = change in volume (in L)


Also note that if work is:

• (+): work is done by the surroundings to the system (compression)

• (–): work is done by the system to the surroundings (expansion)


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Problem Details

Automobile airbags contain solid sodium azide, NaN3, that reacts to produce nitrogen gas when heated, thus inflating the bag. 

2NaN3 (s) → 2Na (s) + 3N2 (g) 

Calculate the value of work (w) in J, for the following system if 33.2 g of NaN3 reacts completely at 1.00 atm and 22 °C.


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