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Nitrous: How It Works | Science Garage

– Today’s subject is no laughing matter. I’m just kidding, it totally is! It’s laughing gas! Nitrous! The NOS! And we’re not about huffing
it and getting the giggles! We’re about cranking out
horsepower with nitrous oxide! (techno synth sounds) We’ve talked about engines before. To get more power, you need more boom. And to get more boom,
you need more oxygen, to burn more gas more quickly. Gasoline needs oxygen to burn, just like every other flammable thing. And the more oxygen you add to something, the more of it you can burn. A cylinder is only so big, which means it can only fit so much air. And one way to get more air in, is to force it in with forced induction. (cheering) And that’s where turbo chargers and super chargers come into play. They way we’re talking about today, is sneaking it in
(booing) with nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide gas was discovered in 1772 by Joseph Priestley. This guy was all about isolating gases, because that made you pretty
cool in the late 1700s. – I tell the best stories! – He tried to find a use for
nitrous as a preservative. But it didn’t work, and all it really did was make people giggle. So that’s what people used it for, through most of the 1800s. It was a party trick and an anesthetic. Nobody figured out how to
do anything else with it until World War II, when the Germans started using it in plane engines for better high altitude performance. But turbo chargers became
more advanced and reliable, so its use didn’t last long. You’ve probably heard folks
refer to nitrous oxide as NOS. – NOS! – NOS is actually an acronym for nitrous oxide systems. It’s a name brand, just like some people call tissues Kleenex, or the way Nolan calls his inline skates Rollerblades. Nitrous oxide is a way to get
more oxygen into the engine. But if oxygen is what we want, why not just shoot more oxygen in there? Like from an oxygen tank? Well, pioneering drag racer Barney Navarro tried that out in the 50s. And, well, it didn’t work as well as he’d hoped! He found that a straight shot of oxygen lets the fuel explode at pretty much any place that’s hot
enough inside the engine. That’s right, it’s the dreaded pinging
– [Offscreen Man] You suck! – Pre-ignition. And what Navarro got was detonation. He really messed up his engine, and just decided it wasn’t worth it. (sobbing) The benefit of nitrous oxide is that it doesn’t release the oxygen until it’s already mixed with the gas, in the cylinder, and ready to blow. The nitrous is in a canister. When it gets shot out, it expands. (nitrous hissing) An added benefit is that when liquids expand into gas, they cool off, and cooler air is denser air, remember? It’s not until the nitrous
oxide gets into the cylinder that it releases the oxygen. In a hot engine, the
normally stable molecules of nitrogen and oxygen
split, releasing O2. Now, with extra oxygen in the cylinder, all you gotta do is add the right amount of fuel, and boom! (explosion booms) More power. And the dreaded pre-ignition, well, both the splitting of the NOS, and the release of those
freed up nitrogen atoms, help to prevent pinging.
– [Offscreen Man] You suck! – It’s kismet! – Jak sie masz! – One nitrous shot is able to bump output from 50 to 300 horsepower. It really is the best bang for your buck, in terms of buying speed for your car. There’s two overall methods
of nitrous delivery, known as dry injection and wet injection. In dry injection, the liquid nitrous oxide is squirted into the air intake by itself, and the fuel system is rigged to add more gasoline to the cylinders. In wet injection, nitrous
oxide and gasoline are injected into the air intake together, and that requires different
mods to your fuel system. Because it won’t release oxygen before it gets to the heat of the cylinder, NOS can be injected as
the air enters the engine, or right at the cylinder with the fuel! Some systems are tooled by hand, like an old-school carburetor. And other systems are computer automated, to get the right mix of gas to O2, with millisecond precision, sometimes at the point of injection. When you want that neck-snapping (crunching) horsepower, you activate the system by just pushing a button that’s installed in the cockpit. The delivery systems are designed to mix the right amount of fuel as the pressurized nitrous
pours into the engine. If nitrous sits in the line, it’s at a different density than if it’s under pressure. Because the amount of gas
to inject with the nitrous is based on liquid nitrous oxide, a valve releases any air
and nitrous oxide gas that might be trapped in the lines. Without a purge, the car would bog down for an instant,
until the liquid nitrous oxide reaches the intake. It would run rich, and not fire right. When the purge system is activated, one or more plumes of nitrous oxide will flash from liquid into
vapor as they’re released. This brings liquid nitrous oxide all the way up from the storage tank to the valve that will
release it in the engine. (valves hissing) It’s pretty cool. So if nitrous oxide’s so great
at making all this power, why don’t we just inject it all the time and drive everywhere, like we’re Jesse from Fast and the Furious? (upbeat music) For one, it makes an
engine work way harder, and car manufacturers don’t necessarily engineer their engines
to take all that stress. (yelling) It’s just bad news. And storage and cost can be a pain, too. For example, running a 125 horsepower shot from a 10 lb bottle of nitrous would probably get you about 10 quarter-mile drag races. That’s 10 lbs of NOS every
two and a half miles. At about $5 a pound, you’re gonna find out your car’s stock horsepower
is perfectly adequate. And hopefully, you’ll stop complaining about these gas prices. Nolan. Since continuous use
would get crazy expensive, and put added strain on
the engine components, nitrogen’s just used in short bursts. And that’s why it’s
popular in drag racing, and not in other types of racing. Then, (dramatic music) right at the beginning
of the 21st century, a little movie called The Fast
and the Furious came along. And a couple of guys
racing nitrous-equipped, foreign four cylinder
cars changed everything. All right, this is not everything. But it sparked (applause) an interest in the
compact racing community. And now, you’re just as likely to see nitrous oxide injection on
an imported four cylinder as you are in a domestic V8. So even though we’re not sucking it down and breathing it in,
shoot it into an engine and it’ll still make you giggly. (giggling) Subscribe to Donut! Please, guys. And thanks to Garage Amino
for sponsoring this episode. Garage Amino is an app that connects car enthusiasts from around the world. And people write us all
the time and they’re like, hey, I have a Mahindra Jeep
with a Peugeot XD3 engine. How can I make it fast? And I’m like, we don’t have those here. So I don’t know! Go get Garage Amino! Listen. Garage Amino lets you connect and share pictures, get advice, and use public chat rooms
to figure this stuff out! You can even find inspiration for your next dream project. The app is like a car forum, but turboed, supercharged with NOS. – NOS! – It’s got a featured feed
of the best new content, and the community is super active, friendly, and welcoming. You like original blog posts? They got ’em! You like historical analyses of cars? They got ’em! Concept builds? New car reviews? Parts? Accessories? They’ve got all that, homes! There’s always something
happening on Garage Amino. And, if you’re worried about missing out, there’s a pop-up that tells you how many people are online
and what they’re up to, from chat rooms to quizzes
to polls and blogs. There’s always new
content to interact with, and you can contribute
to the community yourself super easy! So get inspired! Connect with people who
share your passion for cars from all over the world! Check out the app, Garage Amino! It means a lot to us that everybody’s enjoying what we do here. The more you like, comment, and share, the more cool stuff we get to do with you. So smash that like button,
and share this with your bud! Follow Donut media on
Instagram, @donutmedia. To learn about gas and
how it mixes with O2, check out this gasoline video. And check out this wheelhouse Nolan did on the rivalry between Dodge and Ford.

100 thoughts on “Nitrous: How It Works | Science Garage

  1. 1:18 Talks about German planes in WW2, shows American aircraft. Knows his stuff about cars, not so much about WW2.

  2. holy fuck that was hilarious when they cut to the scene of the car engine exploding!!! I love this channel for there scene cuts they are brilliant and funny keep it up ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. That's because most germans are immune to giggeling,useing it in a warplane is just logical(according to a german brain).Ehmm??…..So'n ScheiรŸ!

  4. Me: puts 300 shot of giggle gas and twin Shanghai tornadoes to bone stock ls
    Car: throws 4 rods to pluto
    Me: surprised pikachu face

  5. Him: hey honey what we doing tonight?
    Her: idk something sexy
    Him: do you want wet injection or dry injection?
    Her: gimme your best baby ๐Ÿ˜

  6. Really really good video๐Ÿ‘
    I knew about wet shot as Iโ€™ve been wet shotting chics for ages. But had no idea about dry shot, does that mean I have to use a condom?

  7. Dude, your ADHD is so prominent that my ADHD is sitting here slappin me at 4 in the am while screaming: YOU SHOULD TOTALLY JUST GO BORROW SOM NITROUS OXIDE FROM THE HOSPITAL LIKE… RIGHT NOW.

  8. Okay explain to me why I can recite to you how a 1jz, 2jz, rotary, rb, sr20, (you get my point) works step by step. How Nitros works. History of most jdm cars works, and Iโ€™m fine. But as soon an you ask me to graph something for algebra Iโ€™m gone. Riddle me that

  9. tiny amounts of nitrous oxide in normal systems would be a balance of cost and performance. it can also be distilled from exhaust fumes, but that's a different story and better for static engines doing work at an oil field.

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