How Does NOS Work?
Nitrous Oxide injection (NOS)is a popular performance modification that offers maximum returns on spending. The direct outcome of using Nitrous Oxide injection is additional power to your vehicle. This results into better garnering of energy from combustion of fuel, revved up engine and eventual boost in over all performance of the vehicle.
Nitrous oxide is more popular than other performance modifications as besides better performance per unit of money spent, Nitrous installations are easier to accomplish. These installations can be used as and when the need arises. The Nitrous oxide injections are available to meet any magnitude of power need from 25 HP to over 500 extra HP. This performance option caters to the computer controlled fuel injected engines. The Nitrous systems are portable enough to be easily removed or transferred to another vehicle. In comparison to other performance options, Nitrous Oxide systems are feasible, as they cost least and install without much difficulty. To install NOS, all you need are some common hand tools and barely three to four hours time. There is no other performance option that can buy you more performance for lesser money than Nitrous.
Nitrous oxide is colorless, non-flammable and a slightly sweet smelling gas. Also known as laughing gas because of its euphoric effects, Nitrous is also known as NOS after the famous trademark catering Nitrous Oxide injection systems.
How Does It Work?
Nitrous oxides functions along identical principle as followed by sodium chlorate upon heating. It constitutes of two parts of Nitrogen and one part of Oxygen (N2O). When Nitrous Oxide is heated to a temperature of about 570 degrees F (~300 degree C), it splits into oxygen and nitrogen. So, injection of Nitrous oxide into the engine results into more oxygen available during combustion. As there is more oxygen available during combustion, the engine can also intake more fuel, and consequently generate more power. Thus, Nitrous oxide is one of the simplest manners to give a substantial horsepower boost to any gasoline engine.
Secondly, when pressurized Nitrous oxide is injected into the intake manifold, it boils and vaporizes. As a result, Nitrous oxide provides significant cooling effect on the intake air. With the cooling effect, the temperature of the intake air reduces by 60-75 degrees F. This in turn, increases air density and subsequent higher concentration of oxygen inside the cylinder. Thus additional power is generated. As per standard rule, every 10 degrees F reduction in intake charge temperature causes 1% increase in power. For example, a 350 HP engine with an intake temperature drop of 70 degrees F shall gain around 25HP on the cooling affect alone.
Thirdly, the nitrogen released during the process of heating also supports the performance aspect. As Nitrogen dampens down the increased cylinder pressure, it controls the combustion process eventually.
Nitrous oxide is colossal just like any other gas. Even its liquid form does not excuse the bulky nature of the gas. The engine requires a huge quantity of Nitrous Oxide to keep the 5-liter engine running at 4,000 rotations per minute (RPM). The speed of 4,000-RPM rate is secured by combustion of 10,000 liters of air every minute. In sharp contrast, the engine consumes only 0.2 liters of gasoline. In nutshell, the engine shall require magnanimous quantity of Nitrous oxide to run your vehicle continuously. Therefore, a car normally carries limited amount of nitrous oxide, which is used very selectively by the driver, by pushing a button.
Nitrous system offers improvement of 1 to 3 full seconds and 10 to 15 MPH in the quarter mile. Other factors viz. engine size, tires, jetting, gearing etc. determine the final results. It is best used with a wide-open throttle, unless a progressive controller is used. It can be safely applied above 2,500 rotations per minute (RPM) under full throttle conditions.
Forged aluminum pistons are one of the best modifications to complement NOS. Other important modifications may be a forged crankshaft, a high quality race type connecting rod, a high output fuel pump dedicated to feeding the additional fuel demands of Nitrous system and a racing fuel with high specific gravity and an octane rating of 110 or more.
For effective performance through Nitrous Oxide, it is important to choose the correct Horse Power for a given application. To elaborate, as the energy will be released in the cylinder, the load on various components to perform will also increase proportionately. If the energy released is greater than the ability to handle the energy, it will amount to wear and tear of the machinery. While 4 cyl. engines allow an extra 40-60 HP, 6 cyl. engines allow 75-100 extra HP only. On identical lines, while small blocks V8's (302/350/400cid) typically allow up to 140 extra HP, big blocks V8's (427/454) accept from 125-200 extra HP.
As Nitrous looses the optimal flow rate at very cold temperatures, NOS kit has a nitrous pressure gauge that allows you to monitor the pressure to approximately 800-900 psi. In colder climates, it is always advisable to purchase a bottle heater kit, part # 14161 to keep the ambient temperature to 70-90 degrees F.
Further, the condition of the engine is important to keep in mind while choosing NOS kit for your vehicle. A worn out and poorly tuned up vehicle will not be able to sustain NOS pressure and will be instead harmed by abnormal wear.
Though the button triggering on Nitrous oxide may be held pressed until the bottle containing it is rendered empty, it is recommended that Nitrous Oxide may be used for 15 continuous seconds or lesser. The Nitrous bottle can be easily refilled from any NOS certified distributor. The NOS bottle must not be overfilled as overfilling and/ or too much heat can result into excessive bottle pressures, following a blown out safety seal and eventual release of all the contents out of the bottle.
To wrap up, Nitrous Oxide magnifies the output of any engine - be it stock engine or modified engine, to lend more power and better performance. However, it is important to keep the condition and horsepower of the engine in mind before introducing particular NOS to it to secure positive results only.