All About Nitrous Oxide in Cars
Nitrous oxide is used in cars to boost the output of the engine for a limited duration. Its first application dates back to WWII when it was used to increase the power of air jets, but now it has found usage in cars. The UAE, along with many other countries, do not allow the use of nitrous oxide in streetcars. While special permits may be required for such a modification, it is still interesting to know how nitrous oxide can deliver such a significant boost.
Today, we will not only see how nitrous works but also take a look at some interesting facts behind its popularity.
What is NOS?
The term NOS stands for Nitrous Oxide System. It is a brand name that became popular through movies like Fast & the Furious and several car racing games. The short burst of speed at the flick of a button is a real deal; however, the movies always seem to exaggerate the impact.
Aside from legal matters, the use of nitrous oxide in cars is not common because such modifications require a different level of expertise and come with the risk of engine damage if not tuned properly.
Now, let’s take a look at how nitrous oxide works in car.
Nitrous Oxide in Cars
Nitrous oxide is basically a chemical compound of two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. In a compressed state, the non-flammable gas becomes liquid and can be stored in a canister.
Nitrous oxide is a way to get more oxygen into the engine. As shooting oxygen directly into the combustion chamber will result in engine damage due to pre-ignition and detonations. Nitrous is a safer way to increase the combustion.
When nitrous oxide is added to the engine, the compound does not release oxygen until it is mixed with the fuel. The liquid nitrous oxide from the canister turns to gas when released and becomes cooler due to expansion. As the gas enters the combustion chamber, the high temperature causes the elements to split into nitrogen and oxygen.
The increase in oxygen aids the burning of fuel as it pushes the piston harder and produces more power. Consequently, the delayed ignition reduces the chances of detonation and pinging.
The nitrous oxide release system is usually controlled by a switch. This is done through electrically controlled solenoid valves.
Nitrous Oxide Injection
The nitrous system comes in two types of delivery systems: wet and dry injection. The flexible delivery systems allow users to easily integrate nitrous oxide into a range of car engines for improved horsepower.
In the dry injection, the nitrous oxide is injected separately into the intake manifold from the fuel. The fuel is introduced via fuel injectors. This allows the user to regulate the fuel either by tuning the carburettor or the vehicle’s ECU for optimised combustion.
In wet injection, nitrous and fuel are simultaneously injected into the air intake. This allows for better individual control of fuel and nitrous oxide, as they are contained separately before injection. The flexibility in control makes the wet injection more preferable but at the same time, more complex to set up.
Dry vs Wet Nitrous Injection
Both setups have their own pros and cons. Let’s take a quick look:
- Easy to setup and install
- Efficient fuel delivery and distribution in each cylinder
- Difficult to tune as it relies on fuel injectors and nozzle placement
- Difficult to set up and install
- Easy to tune
- Suitable for higher power applications
- Risk of nitrous backfire
Finding the right fit for your car depends on your resources, budget and tuning capabilities. It’s best to take advice from a qualified and well-trained professional to understand what works best with your current car model and specs.
Modification Rules in the UAE
Nitrous oxide has found its application in drift races like Formula Drift and has seen limited usage on urban roads due to safety and legal reasons. More people prefer turbochargers for a safer and permanent boost to engine horsepower.
The UAE has various laws against engine modifications that impact the engine speed while making the car unsafe to drive. Adding nitrous oxide can result in a power gain of around 50 to 250 hp. Such modifications without permission can result in traffic fines, accumulation of black points and vehicle confiscation.
If you want to test out nitrous oxide after obtaining the necessary permits, check out our list of used cars for sale in Dubai as modifying a new car may negatively impact its worth. You can find some really amazing sports cars listed on dubizzle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can nitrous oxide in cars damage the engine?
Nitrous oxide does not damage the engine if properly tuned and used in moderation under safe limits. Problems arise if an unoptimized setup leads to a leaner air-fuel mixture, which increases the risk of engine damage. Additionally, since the engine is already working harder under nitrous boost, it can increase the risk of engine damage due to faulty components.
What is shot in nitrous oxide?
‘Shot’ is the slang term for the amount of horsepower the nitrous setting can provide. For instance, 50, 100 or 150 shot means a nitrous boost can add around 50, 100 or 150 hp, respectively.
How long does nitrous oxide last?
Nitrous oxide offers a short term boost that can last around 10 to 15 seconds. Nonetheless, the capability of nitrous oxide depends on the size of the engine and the fuel type. A bigger engine of up to 8 cylinders with racing fuel can expect a higher horsepower boost as compared to a smaller 4 cylinder engine.
Nitrous is not usually safe to use on city roads and refilling nitrous canisters can be very expensive. Once again, check with the regional traffic authority for the modification permission to avoid legal issues.
Stay tuned to the UAE’s leading auto blog for more information on cars and automotive technology.