MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: how does nos (nitrous oxide) work in a car to make it go faster?

Date: Tue Nov 25 20:09:33 2003
Posted By: Camilo Ernesto Mendoza Huezo, Grad student, Computer Science, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California - Ensenada
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 1064539266.Eg

Hi, Ashley. To start things off NOS is short for Nitrous Oxide System which is the name of the company that markets bottles of Nitrous Oxide. The chemical designator of nitrous oxide is N2O, which means that every molecule of Nitrous Oxide consists of 2 nitrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom.

Inside an engine, gasoline, along with oxygen that comes in the air intake, produces combustion so the car has power, but only a limited amount of oxygen comes thru the air intake. If you want more power from your car then one of the easiest places to start is by trying to push more air in there and that is what turbochargers and superchargers do: they force more air into the engine and along with more air, more oxygen comes into the engine so a bigger explosion is produced and more power generated. But what if you don't want to buy and expensive turbocharger or supercharger or don't want the hassle of installing them? Well, another option is to buy a NOS system. This system will inject Nitrous Oxide gas into the engine. As I mentioned in the beginning of this message, every Nitrous Oxide molecule contains two Nitrogen and one Oxygen molecule. What happens is that when the molecule enters the engine, it's so hot in there that they separate and the oxygen molecule can help burn more gasoline now that it's all alone. This only happens if it's really hot (like around 570 degrees F) else they won't separate and it won't help burn more gasoline. There is also another benefit of using a NOS System: when Nitrous Oxide comes into the engine, it's at a lower temperature than the air around it. When you cool things down they tend to occupy less space (the freezing of water is one of the only major exceptions to this rule). The Nitrous Oxide coming in to the engine cools down a bit the sorrounding air that same air gets a little bit more compact and that extra space gets fill with a little bit more air and so more is entering the engine. When you add everything up a lot more oxygen exists in the engine and you have a bigger explosion along with the gasoline already in there.

Just for comparison if you have the same amount of Nitrous Oxide in a bottle and in another one you have regular atmosphere air, the Nitrous Oxide bottle will have about 36% of oxygen and the regular atmosphere bottle will have about 23% of oxygen.

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