Knowing About Nitro

So we started a few entries ago with the basics of automobiles. Stuff like air filters, horsepower and cylinders. What they mean and how they work. Then we got more advanced with the supercharger and turbocharger. But this is only the beginning. Today, let’s learn about nitro.
Anyone who is into racing will know about nitro or nitrous, and most people will have heard the term at some point or another. Nitro, which has the scientific name nitrous oxide, it is two nitrogen atoms attached to one oxygen atom. It is injected into fuel systems to make a much more powerful combustion. Have you ever seen a drag racer with flames shooting out of the exhaust? That is extra nitro being burned off as it leaves the exhaust system.
Air and gas mix in a cylinder and are ignited to create energy. Well what would happen if you can get more air into a cylinder? Right, it would create a larger combustion. Remember how nitro is two parts nitrogen and one part oxygen? When nitro is added to the gas and ignites, the nitro releases the oxygen into the cylinder, thus increasing the amount of air available to burn. This is why nitro is so explosive, it has air in it that feeds its own combustion.
Depending on the engine and design, nitrous can add anywhere from.5 hp to 3,000 hp. Nitrous is so powerful that it doesn’t all burn off in the cylinder. Some of it gets ejected into the exhaust system. This explains the flames you sometimes see coming out of nitrous equipped cars.
You can’t add nitro to old, used vehicles. It puts a major strain on an engine cars need to be modified to equip it. If not it can result in cracked pistons, damaged casings, ruined crankshafts or even out right detonation. Another problem with nitro is that is relies on a very specific ratio of air to and fuel. Too much or too little and it could ruin your engine or once again detonate. Strong engine casings aside, detonation is not something you want to have happen to your car. If you ever see a car looks like it is blowing steam out of a hole in the hood before a race then you know it has nitro in it. The drivers “purge” their system before races to make sure there is no extra nitro caught in the pipes.
Engineers have been experimenting with using nitro for decades now. In fact during World War 2, both English and German aviators experimenting with adding nitro to planes to help with high altitude, low oxygen flights. Consider yourself warned though, nitro is not cheap nor is it street legal. In fact many races, including NASCAR ban its use. For the record you can have it in your car on the streets but you have to have the feed line disconnected or closed, we don’t want you outrunning the police now do we?