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Nitrous Oxide Systems-NOS

Updated on October 22, 2011

Starting with a bit of history,nitrous oxide was first used in the world war II as enhancement system in the fighter aircraft. In one of the technology the fighter planes consisted of mechanism where by the planes could gain additional acceleration when nearing enemy target to increase the the chances of hiting the enemy.

Other such nitrous based systems or nitrous oxide enhancement technology was used in the planes which required the desired power output to keep the planes running. The technology was required at high altittudes when the oxygen content in the atmosphere started to lower.

But it is now presently being used as an engine enhancement kit in racing cars and was first used in the NASCAR racing cars. There after it became popular in the underground racing cars and is considered of pride if you have Nitrous system intalled in your car. Although such types of underground racing is banned in most of the countries but the intallation if nitrous system is allowed.

A Bit Of Chemistry

After a review of a little history lets look into a bit of chemistry. The nitrous based systems have a primary element called nitrous oxide because of which it is called nitrous or NOS or sometimes in short nitro. Its chemical formula is N2O and is the first of the series of oxides that nitrogen forms with oxygen. A part from its use in nitrous based systems, it has also many application in chemistry. One of its rather strange name is "laughing gas" well nothing to be surprised about because it has some chemical properties that induces laugh in human beings. It has many chemical application like it is used as aerosol propellants and in medicine it is used in surgery and dentistry.

Nitrous Backfire

How NOS Enhances Vehicle Perfomance

Like I mentioned nitrous based systems (NOS) where first used in the NASCAR racing of the 1970s primarily to enhance the racing performance. The basic principle behind its use in the racing vehicles is it supports the process of combustion and enhances the engine power. Now the basic thing that we are all aware of is that fuel is combusted in the presence of air and ignites to produce energy to run the vehicle. Pure oxygen is never provided to the engine otherwise it will produce too much of energy to completely explode the engine so instead of that, a mixture of fuel and air is combusted in the engine, but when nitrous oxide is also injected into the system then it breaks into nitrogen and oxygen providing the pure oxygen needed to burn the fuel more efficiently thus providing more power to the car.

Now one may think that the extra oxygen could once again produce great amount of energy to blast the engine but this is the beauty of the nitrous based systems i.e. when the oxygen is provided the nitrogen separated from the oxide. Nitrogen being inert in nature doesn't react with any of the other atoms instead it simply produces a cooling effect which takes away much of the heat generated due to combustion of pure oxygen.

Trans AM VS Camaro-Nitrous purge

Types of Nitrous Systems

Generally there are two types of nitrous systems used namely:

  • Nitrous Oxide Dry Injection
  • Nitrous Oxide Wet Injection

Nitrous Oxide Dry Injection

In this type of system the nitrous oxide is sprayed keeping the manifold dry of fuel. This type of fuel usually produces less power.

Nitrous Oxide Wet Injection

This type of system uses a mixture of fuel and nitrous oxide which is sprayed into the engine.

Reliability and Safety

One of the major problem that can be faced using NOS is that the engine experiences some great stress due to the increased cylinder pressure and as a whole the entire engine is effected specially the combustion portion of the engine. This stress can cause cracked or destroyed piston and crankshafts too may be damaged.

One major safety measure that should be used is the using a high octane number fuel that will reduce the anti-knocking effects in your car. In the end I would say always play safe and never use the NOS engine on roads other than racing tracks.


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    • JakeAuto profile image


      9 years ago from Calif.

      I once read an article by kit maker who described installing Nitro kits in economy rental cars for the weekend, and blowing away mustangs and the like. Kinda raises rental abuse to an art.


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