December 6, 2022

Surrounded by hype, nitrous oxide is usually a useful device to unlocking your engine’s energy potential. Right here’s what you want to know.

Information from Quick Automotive. Phrases: Simon Properties. Images: Chris Wallbank.

How did nitrous oxide come about?

Nitrous oxide entered mainstream fashionable tradition because of the Quick And Livid sequence of movies, however its origins return a lot additional than that, approach again.

Nitrous oxide has really been round longer than you may at first assume. It was first found within the nineteenth Century, however its potential properties weren’t recognised till a lot later when it was launched as an anaesthetic — for which it’s nonetheless used in the present day. It was solely through the Second World Warfare that its large performance-enhancing skills had been recognised and utilised in sure kinds of planes to make them fly quicker and work in excessive altitudes the place air content material is thinner. The introduction of the jet engine quickly made nitrous out of date for navy functions, but it surely was rapidly picked up by the massive and fashionable drag racing communities throughout America within the search of energy. From there it quickly gained momentum till it reached street-driven automobiles all around the world.

How does nitrous oxide work?

Nitrous works in multiple approach, however primarily all of it provides to the identical impact – giving your engine extra oxygen to burn, which in flip permits extra gas to burn creating extra energy. To realize a greater understanding of how nitrous works you want to know two issues.

Firstly, it incorporates extra oxygen than air — round 16 per cent extra. And secondly, nitrous is a liquid that boils to change into a gasoline. Due to this fact, for it to work correctly and to its full potential, it’s crucial to verify it’s nonetheless in liquid kind because it reaches the consumption manifold as a way to maximise the warmth trade with the consumption cost.

It’s the primary fast impact of this warmth trade that gives a big acquire by the dramatic discount of consumption temperatures as the encompassing air is cooled; one thing that’s particularly necessary relating to turbo purposes. Additionally, as a gasoline displaces greater than a liquid, injecting on this kind ends in extra cost within the cylinders. Because it displaces much less air, it’s by this massively-increased oxygen content material that it permits extra gas to be burnt.

Its advantages aren’t over but although, as when the warmth within the cylinder from the combustion course of reaches round 550 levels F, the nitrous gasoline will disassociate into its two elements; nitrogen and oxygen. It’s these two elements that work collectively to create the results they do, because the oxygen will increase the temperature and with it the burn fee because the nitrogen helps to buffer this extra warmth, which in flip reduces the possibility of detonation and subsequently failure. At this level it’s nonetheless a managed burn so the rise in oxygen and warmth quickly hastens the combustion course of by rising the flame velocity and reaching peak temperature extra rapidly. For that reason, it’s necessary to keep watch over what the engine is doing if utilizing giant quantities of nitrous, as temperatures improve additional. Retarding the ignition helps maintain management of the warmth, decreasing probabilities of detonation.

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Nitrous Oxide

Can you set nitrous oxide on any automobile?

Nitrous oxide can work on any automobile, or any engine. WON have fitted kits to all the things from diesels to Ferraris and even chainsaw engines. However earlier than becoming it’s necessary to make sure your automobile and engine are in good situation which incorporates issues that can take the added pressure, such because the clutch. First rate brakes are additionally a necessity as many underestimate how a lot nitrous will really enhance the efficiency. It’s value doing a full service, particularly for the gas system so a brand new filter and a test to verify the pump and features are in good working order. The spark plugs will must be modified for ones a warmth grade colder, as nitrous can improve cylinder temperatures and melts plugs, which results in detonation. As a powerful spark is all the time wanted, a full overhaul of the ignition system can be required. Lastly, it’s all the time value doing a leak-down take a look at to make sure the automobile has no different issues that can not be seen simply, as older engines significantly might be in drained situation, but it surely’s all the time value checking.

What are the principle elements of a nitrous oxide package?

There isn’t that a lot to a package once you break it down, so we took the possibility to take a detailed up have a look at the specifically developed WON package, which is fastidiously designed to make sure liquid reaches the engine by conserving stress excessive and the temperature low.

Bottle and bracket

A very powerful factor to recollect is that it’s liquid within the bottle, not gasoline. The bottle has a dip tube in it, like a paint can, so mounting the bottle on the proper angle is necessary (the easy rule is to verify the valve is on the very highest level it may be). It’s additionally value noting that because it’s a liquid it suffers from a surge impact on laborious cornering, which must be taken into consideration if the automobile is track-orientated by mounting the bottle extra upright.

Arming switches and triggers

To activate the solenoids and let the nitrous move by there must be a set off and change. The toggle change will arm the system however nothing will occur no matter whether or not it’s on or off — the nitrous will solely inject when at full throttle, utilizing a micro change fitted both underneath the accelerator pedal or on the throttle physique. These might be difficult to suit, so WON has developed a throttle place unit which might be set to set off at any place you need, though not less than three-quarters throttle is advisable.


These really inject the nitrous into the consumption system. They should spray a mixture of gas and nitrous collectively relying on whether or not the package is a moist or dry system. Distributing the nitrous is simple as a result of excessive stress — it’s the gas that’s the issue to get proper, so these injectors are designed to present a crossfire spray sample which is best for atomisation of the 2 substances.

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These ship the pressurised nitrous from the bottle to the solenoid. They should stand up to basic put on and tear from use and becoming in addition to the continual excessive pressures nitrous runs at, which is generally round 1000psi at peak level. WON use nylon traces which can be designed to run at 2000psi peak with a burst stress of 6000psi and being manufactured from nylon they’re much simpler to work with. Longer and bigger internal-diameter traces imply extra probability of stress dropping, temperature rising and turning into gasoline earlier than it reaches the cylinders, in order that they must be saved as brief and small as potential except bigger doses of round 75-100bhp are used.

Distribution blocks

Solely wanted for a direct-port package that makes use of 4 injectors; one for every cylinder. These are designed to present even circulate and guarantee there’s no probability of stress drop. As with all traces the size of pipes to and from these needs to be as brief as potential.


To permit the pressurised nitrous to achieve the engine, the package depends on solenoids to open which can be triggered electronically. The WON kits use a solenoid that permits the nitrous to take the simplest and unrestrictive path by to make sure the excessive stress from the bottle and features is maintained. The solenoids are additionally designed to allow them to be pulsed, which means when they’re linked to a controller, they’ll fastidiously ration the quantity of nitrous that passes by them. Additionally they incorporate a metering jet which will increase response and makes them extra environment friendly.

Nitrous Oxide

The totally different nitrous oxide kits

Dry kits

These kits don’t use an additional gas solenoid to ship the gas, they as a substitute depend on the engine’s present arrange and one nitrous solenoid. This may work very nicely however solely if in case you have a really intelligent and suitable ECU that is ready to inject the massive quantities of additional gas wanted for when the nitrous is triggered. Dry techniques can’t be used on engines with carbs. Keep away from making an attempt to cheat the gas stress regulator into giving extra gas too, it typically ends in failure because it both doesn’t make energy or melts the engine.

Moist kits

Such a package is the extra frequent set-up present in most purposes. As a majority of automobiles can not run a dry arrange sufficiently, moist kits supply a further gas provide from a delegated solenoid in addition to one for nitrous. They faucet into the automobile’s gas provide close to the inlet manifold and subsequently depend on the usual gas stress and pump. There’s extra management on supply with a moist package and utilizing one thing like a progressive controller will take advantage of this by strategically delaying and monitoring the provision.

Direct port

This package is rather like a single injector arrange however makes use of 4 injectors as a substitute; one for every cylinder. A distribution block from the solenoid delivers a good quantity of nitrous and gas to every of the injectors, that are mounted a lot nearer to the inlet ports and needs to be angled to spray proper into cylinders themselves ideally.

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For that reason, they’re tougher to suit and costlier; however because it’s extra prone to inject liquid precisely the place you need it, extra energy is commonly produced and response is elevated. The knock-on impact is it should use much less nitrous to realize a given end result. That is the one choice for any engine operating a twin carb or throttle physique arrange.

Single injector

Because the identify suggests that is merely a nitrous package (moist or dry however usually the previous) that makes use of just one injector to inject the combination into the consumption system. To offer a good distribution it’s usually fitted simply after the throttle physique, permitting for the inlet manifold’s traits to ship the nitrous evenly to all of the cylinders. For that reason, it’s simpler and cheaper to put in and it’ll come in additional progressively, which is less complicated on drivetrain elements and provides much less probability of clutch slip. Nevertheless, because the nitrous has additional to journey earlier than it reaches the cylinders it has extra probability of turning to gasoline, and on some purposes it isn’t potential to make use of. If the throttle physique is mounted decrease than the inlet valves as an example then the combination may have issues reaching the engine. If there isn’t any single shared throttle physique or carb then this package can’t work both.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide equipment

Bottle heaters

These are jackets that match over the bottle to heat it, which will increase the stress contained in the bottle and subsequently ensures the nitrous that reaches the jets is on the stress it needs to be. Cold and hot days each affect the bottle stress, so this can assist to stabilise it.

Purge kits

The plume of gasoline you see some automobiles give off on the beginning line on the drag strip is solely gaseous nitrous being vented off to ambiance by a purge package. It brings liquid as much as the solenoid prepared for fast use, however solely greater kits utilizing braided traces realistically want it, in any other case it’s only for the pose issue.


A very powerful add-on of all: traction management for nitrous. A fundamental unit merely pulses the solenoids open and shut to ship smaller quantities of nitrous as and once you need it. This implies it will probably regularly ship a bigger and bigger shot progressively fairly than , permitting the engine to slowly devour extra nitrous when it will probably. It’s kinder to the drivetrain, helps acceleration occasions and is extra environment friendly. It additionally permits a a lot greater dose; elevated air velocity at increased velocity and rpm means the nitrous is extra diluted with air, and subsequently able to consuming extra. Intelligent variations have extras equivalent to recognising what gear you’re in and rising the dosage it injects all through the gear. Additionally they allow security options, equivalent to delaying injection time till after the clutch is disengaged.

Nitrous Oxide