Nitrous Oxide

Turbochargers and superchargers feed the engine more air by pulling in more air from the atmosphere. But what if you could just add oxygen straight from a bottle? This may sound like a good idea, except that pressurizing your intake with extra oxygen might cause the fuel to ignite far too early, maybe even before it could get into the cylinders. The solution to this is to use something a bit more stable: nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide, or N2O, is a chemical containing an oxygen atom attached to a pair of nitrogen atoms. At high temperatures, it splits into nitrogen and oxygen, leaving the oxygen free to combine with the fuel once the mixture has already ignited. Since this is not a reaction that happens at room temperature, nitrous ...

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