How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?
How Does Nitrous Oxide Work?
There are three points. First, nitrous oxide is comprised of 2 parts nitrogen and one part oxygen (36% oxygen by weight). When the nitrous oxide is heated to approximately 572F (on compression stroke), it breaks down and releases its load of extra oxygen, However, it is not this oxygen alone which creates additional power, but the ability of this oxygen to burn more fuel. By burning more fuel, higher cylinder pressures are created and this is where most of the additional power is realized. Secondly, as pressurized nitrous oxide is injected into the intake manifold, it changes from a liquid to a gas (boils). This boiling affect reduces the temperature of the nitrous to minus 127 Degrees F. This “cooling affect” in turn significantly reduces intake charge temperatures by approximately 60-75 Degrees F. This also helps create additional power. A general rule of thumb: For every 10 Degrees F. reduction in intake charge temperature, a 1% increase in power will be realized. Example: A 350 HP engine with an intake temperature drop of 70 Degrees F, would gain approximately 25 HP on the cooling affect alone. The third point, the nitrogen that was also released during the compression stroke performs an important role. Nitrogen acts to “buff or damper” the increased cylinder pressures leading to a controlled combustion process and better slower heat release
Nitrous oxide injection has become a very popular option for today’s performance enthusiast for several reasons:
N20 offers you more performance per $ spent, than any other performance modification.
N20 installations are relatively easy to accomplish.
Since N20 is used only when needed, it offers you the advantages of complete drivability and normal gas mileage while not “on the button.”
Systems available for virtually any power need from 5 HP to over 500 extra HP.
One of the few performance options available for today’s computer controlled, fuel injected engines.
Systems can easily be removed or transferred to another vehicle unlike conventional tuning parts.
The key is choosing the correct H.P. for a given application. A kit that uses the correct factory calibration does not usually cause increased wear. As the energy released in the cylinder increases so do the loads on the various components that must handle them. If the load increases exceed the ability of the components to handle them, added wear takes place. Nitrous kits are designed for use on demand and only at wide open throttle. Nitrous can be extremely advantageous in that it is only used when you want it, not all the time. All Nitrous kits are designed for maximum power with reliability for a given application.
This depends largely on the actual condition of the engine components. Any performance modification to an engine that is worn out or poorly tuned will have detrimental effects. However, an engine in good condition, with good ring and head gasket sealing, should be able to use nitrous without any abnormal wear.
No. The increase in oxygen present in the exhaust may actually increase the efficiency of the converter. Since the use of nitrous is normally limited to 10-20 seconds of continuous use, there usually are no appreciable effects. Temperatures are typically well within acceptable standards.
Some of the most important components of any nitrous system are nitrous and fuel filters. To keep contaminants from attacking the solenoid or plugging up a jet, nitrous filters feature a special stainless steel mesh element from the aerospace industry.
Not really. In most cases the percentage of increase is greater from a stock engine because it is not as efficient as the modified engine in a normal non-nitrous mode. However, since the effects of nitrous oxide magnify the output of any engine, the total power output will be much higher in the modified engine.
Absolutely. High or low compression ratios can work quite suitably with nitrous oxide provided the proper balance of nitrous and fuel enrichment is maintained. nitrous kits are used in applications from relatively low compression stock type motors to Pro-Modifieds, which often exceed 15 to 1. Generally, the higher the compression ratio, the more ignition retard, as well as higher octane fuel, is required. For more specific information talk to one of our technicians.
Yes. Use of a premium type leaded or unleaded fuel of 92, or greater, octane is recommended for most applications. Many nitrous systems are designed for use with service station pump gas. However, when higher compression or higher horsepower levels are used, a racing fuel of 100 octane, or more, must be used.
Generally, cams that have less exhaust overlap and more exhaust duration. However, it is best to choose a cam tailored to normal use (when nitrous is not activated) since 99% of most vehicle operations is not at full throttle. There are special cam grinds available for nitrous competition which have more aggressive exhaust profile ramping, etc. Since cam selection depends largely on vehicle weight, gearing, etc., it is best to stick to cam manufacturers’ recommendations for your particular goal.
The advantages of a plate system are ease of installation and removal, ability to transfer easily to another vehicle, ability to change jetting combinations quickly, and in most cases, provide you with all the extra HP you will ever need (75 to 350 more HP). In some cases, such as in-line type engines with long runners, a direct port type system is advisable for maximizing distribution. Also, where more than 350 HP is needed, our direct port Fogger systems will provide the ultimate in distribution and power (up to 500+ HP). Direct port injection is also desirable when the system is hidden under the manifold.
Most stock fuel pumps will work adequately for smaller nitrous applications. It is important to check to see if your pump can flow enough fuel to your existing fuel system (whether carburetor or fuel injected), as well as being able to supply the additional fuel required by the nitrous kit under full throttle conditions. It may be a good idea to dedicate a separate fuel pump to the nitrous kit.
Nitrous bottles come with siphon tubes and, in order to maintain proper nitrous pickup, it is important to mount the bottle correctly. We recommend mounting the bottle at a 15 degree angle with the valve end higher than the bottom of the bottle. The valve end of the bottle should point to the front of the vehicle and the valve knob and label should face straight up.
The cost of many other performance options can put you in the poorhouse. Dollar for dollar, you can’t buy more performance with less money than nitrous. With a nitrous system, performance and reliability can be had for a much more reasonable price while still retaining the advantage of a stock engine during normal driving. Nitrous offers tremendous gains in torque without having to rev the engine to excessive rpm’s. These factors help your engine last longer than many other methods of boosting horsepower.
Pressures often exceed 1,000 psi. This is why nitrous systems use only high pressure tested aircraft quality components like stainless steel braided Teflon lines throughout its system.
It is very important not to overfill a bottle; i.e., a 10 lb. capacity bottle should not be filled with more than 10 lbs. of nitrous oxide by weight. Over-filling and/or too much heat can cause excessive bottle pressures forcing the safety seal to blow and releasing all the contents out of the bottle.
Most late model ignition systems are well suited for nitrous applications. In some higher HP cases, it may be advisable to look into a high quality high output ignition system with a built in spark retard.
Absolutely! In turbo applications, turbo lag is completely eliminated with the addition of a nitrous system. In addition, both turbo and superchargers compress the incoming air, thus heating it. With the injection of nitrous, a tremendous intercooling effect reduces intake charge temperatures by 75 degrees or more. Boost is usually increased as well, adding to even more power.
No. Chilling the bottle lowers the pressure dramatically and will also lower the flow rate of the nitrous causing a fuel rich condition and reducing power. On cold evenings you might run on the rich side. For optimal running conditions, keep bottle pressure at approximately 900-950 psi, nitrous pressure guage that allows you to monitor this. If you live or operate a nitrous system in colder temperatures, it may also be a good idea to purchase a bottle heater kit, part #14164. Generally, ambient temperatures of 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit will allow for best power potential of nitrous kits.
Yes. The key is to choose the correct kit for a given application; i.e., 4 cyl. engines normally allow an extra 40- 60 HP, 6 cyl. engines usually work great between 75-100 extra HP, small block V8’s (302/350/400cid) can typically accept up to 140 extra HP, and big block V8’s (427-454) might accept from 125-200 extra HP. These suggested ranges provide maximum reliability from most stock engines using cast pistons and cast crank with few or no engine modifications.
Generally, forged aluminum pistons are one of best modifications you can make. Retard ignition timing by 4-8 degrees (1 to 1-1/2 degrees timing retard per 50 HP gain). In many cases a higher flowing fuel pump may be necessary. Higher octane (100+) racing type fuel may be required as well as spark plugs 1 to 2 heat ranges colder than normal with gaps closed to .025″-.030″. For gains over 250 HP, other important modifications could be necessary in addition to those mentioned above. These special modifications may include a forged crankshaft, a high quality race type connecting rods, a high output fuel pump dedicated to feeding the additional fuel demands of the nitrous system, and a racing fuel with high specific gravity and an octane rating of 110 or more. For more specific information about your application, please contact us and we would be happy to further assist you.
Nitrous oxide is made up of 2 parts nitrogen and 1 part oxygen (36% oxygen by weight). During the combustion process in an engine, at about 572 degrees F, nitrous breaks down and releases oxygen. This extra oxygen creates additional power by allowing more fuel to be burned. Nitrogen acts to buffer, or dampen the increased cylinder pressures helping to control the combustion process. Nitrous also has a tremendous “intercooling” effect by reducing intake charge temperatures by 60 to 75 degrees F.
For many applications an improvement from 1 to 3 full seconds and 10 to 15 MPH in the quarter mile can be expected. Factors such as engine size, tires, jetting, gearing, etc. will affect the final results.
It is possible to hold the button down until the bottle is empty. However 15 continuous seconds at a time, or less, is recommended.
At wide open throttle only (unless a progressive controller is used). Due to the tremendous amount of increased torque, you will generally find best results, traction permitting, at early activation. Nitrous can be safely applied above 2,500 RPM under full throttle conditions.
This largely depends on the type of nitrous kit and jetting used. For example, a 125 HP Power Shot kit with a standard 10 lb. capacity bottle will usually offer up to 7 to 10 full quarter-mile passes. For power levels of 250 HP, 3 to 5 full quarter-mile passes may be expected. If nitrous is only used in 2nd and 3rd gears, the number of runs will be more.
No! The nitrous system is independent of your carburetor and injects its own mixture of fuel and nitrous.
Nitrous Oxide by itself is non-flammable. However, the oxygen present in nitrous oxide causes combustion of fuel to take place more rapidly.
Not directly. Detonation is the result of too little fuel present during combustion (lean) or too low of an octane of fuel. Too much ignition advance also causes detonation. In general, most of our kits engineered for stock type engines will work well with premium type fuels and minimal decreases of ignition timing. In racing application where higher compression ratios are used, resulting in higher cylinder pressures, a higher fuel octane must be used as well as more ignition retard.
None! The additive does not affect performance.
Only if the chip has been designed specifically for use with nitrous oxide. Most aftermarket chips use more aggressive timing advance curves to create more power. This can lead to possible detonation. You may wish to check with the manufacturer of the chip before using it. The top manufacturers, such as Hypertech do make special chips for use with nitrous.
As long as the manifold doesn’t interfere with the spray pattern of the bars, either will work fine in most cases. The distribution is better with a single plane at high RPM. If your goal is to increase power by more than 150 HP, the single plane manifold is better.
Yes. Due to the ability to burn more fuel, this is exactly why nitrous makes so much power.
The most reliable method is to weigh the bottle to determine how many pounds remain. When a bottle is near empty (about 20% or less nitrous remaining) a surging effect is normally felt.