The Effectiveness of Oxygen in Preventing Embrittlement in Air Bag Inflators Containing Gaseous Hydrogen
This study examines the effectiveness of gaseous oxygen at preventing embrittlement in steel associated with exposure to gaseous hydrogen under static loading conditions. Notched C-ring samples machined from 4340 steel and heat treated to HRC 51-53 were used to test the neutrality of an oxygen-hydrogen gas mixture similar to that which may be used as a generant in an air bag inflator. The 29 percent oxygen to hydrogen gas ratio of the gas mixture was found to be sufficient to protect the steel from hydrogen embrittlement under static loading conditions. This would indicate that any steel with a hardness of HRC 51 or lower would be safe to use in gas-based air bag inflators containing a oxygen to hydrogen gas ratio of 29 percent or higher.