Nitrous oxide is a compound with the chemical formula N2O. At standard temperature and pressure, N2O is a colorless, non-flammable gas with a pleasant and slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in dental treatment and surgery for its anesthetic and analgesic effects. It is also used in motor racing as an oxidizer to increase the power output of engines. It acts as a boosting power in Racing cars.
Properties of N2O
- Nitrous oxide deactivates the cobalamin form of vitamin B12 by
oxidation. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, including myelopathy,
encephalopathy and sensory neuropathy, can occur within days or
weeks of exposure to nitrous oxide anesthesia in people with
subclinical vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms are handled with high
doses of vitamin B12, but recovery can be slow and incomplete.
- Compressed nitrous oxide is usually stored at room temperature, but as the gas expands it quickly cools to sub-zero temperatures via the Joule-Thomson Effect. A leak or unexpected release of compressed nitrous oxide can result in an immediate and severe burn.
- Nitrous oxide is commonly prepared by deliberate heating of
ammonium nitrate, which decomposes into nitrous oxide and water
NH4NO3(s) = 2 H2O(g) + N2O(g)
Uses of N2O
Ï Nitrous oxide has been used recreationally as an inhalant, because it causes euphoria and slight delusions. Ï It acts as a boost for racing cars. Ï Nitrous oxide can also be used in a monopropellant rocket Ï The gas is approved for use as a food additive, specifically as an aerosol spray propellant Ï Nitrous oxide can be used as an oxidizer in a rocket motor. Ï It is also used as an Anesthetics. Ï Nitrous oxide is relatively non-polar, has a low molecular weight, and high lipid solubility. As a result it can quickly diffuse into phospho-lipid cell membranes.