news 13.5.2019

JAMK’s explosive invention solves airbag manufacturer’s billion-dollar problem

The ANST project carried out by JAMK University of Applied Sciences patented a solution to keep the explosive force of the ammonium nitrate used for airbag gas generation constant despite temperature variations.

The Japanese safety equipment manufacturer Takata was driven to bankruptcy when it was found that the gas generator unit triggering the airbags in the company’s devices could potentially explode, flinging pieces of metal to its surroundings. In the United States alone, some twenty fatalities and hundreds of injuries have been reported. On a global scale, car manufacturers have so far recalled over 100 million cars for repairs, and the number is likely to increase.

The problem was caused by the properties of the ammonium nitrate used for airbag gas generation changing due to repeated heating and cooling in warm climates over the course of multiple years.

“Storage conditions alter the explosive force of ammonium nitrate based explosives. The triggering system in airbags requires a controlled explosion that is powerful enough to fill the bag with gas but not too powerful to endanger the vehicle’s passengers,” Project Engineer Mauno Harju of JAMK’s ANST project explains.

The project led by Harju patented a solution for manufacturing ammonium nitrate in a way that maintains a stable and predictable explosive force despite any fluctuations in temperature. The project was completed with partial funding from the TUTL funding programme maintained by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation).

JAMK has patented the solution under the name ANST™ and submitted a PCT application for an international patent. The patent holder is JAMK University of Applied Sciences and the inventor is Project Engineer PhD Mauno Harju of JAMK’s School of Technology.

“This is a significant achievement also from the standpoint of JAMK’s research activities. Going forward, we will be bolstering applied research related to our strengths substantially. The innovation developed by Mauno Harju may become an important factor in the development of the next generation of automotive technology,” says Rector of JAMK Jussi Halttunen.

JAMK is currently looking for industrial partners to utilise the invention.

“Compared to corresponding traditional and emerging substances on the market, ANST™ is non-toxic, easily-recyclable, cheap and readily available,” Mauno Harju lists.

For more information, please contact:
PhD Mauno Harju, Project Engineer
tel. +358 (0)40 768 1931
JAMK University of Applied Sciences