What Nitrous Oxide Is and What Nitrous Oxide Isn’t


EvlRed 10 Sec Club
Sep 12, 2010
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Port Arthur Texas
To your engine, nitrous oxide is a more convenient form at normal air. Since we are only interested in the oxygen the air contains, nitrous oxide provides a simple tool for manipulating how much oxygen will be present when you add additional fuel in an attempt to release more power. The power always comes from the fuel source. Nitrous oxide is not a fuel. Nitrous oxide is a convenient way to add the additional oxygen required to burn more fuel. If you add only nitrous oxide and do not add additional fuel, you would just speed up the rate at which your engine is burning the fuel that it normally uses.

This, more often than not, leads to destructive detonation. The energy comes from the fuel, not the nitrous. Nitrous oxide simply allows you to burn a greater quantity of fuel in the same time period; thus the overall effect is a tremendous increase in the total amount of energy, or power, released from the fuel and available for accelerating your vehicle.

There is no voodoo involved in nitrous oxide. In effect, using nitrous is no different from using a bigger carburetor, a better manifold, a supercharger, or a turbocharger. Understand that the air you and your engine breathe is made up, at sea level, of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and just 1% other gases. Nitrous oxide IN2O) is made by simply taking the 2 major components of earth’s atmosphere (in this case 2 molecules of nitrogen and 1 molecule of oxygen) and attaching them together with a chemical bond. When the nitrous oxide goes into your engine the heat of combustion breaks the chemical bond to provide your engine more oxygen with which to burn fuel. As you’ve read, all race engines operate under the same principles:
more air (better breathing, supercharging, turbocharging, or nitrous) plus more fuel in a denser vapor equals more power.

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