see earlier post about a blogger who was killed when her nitrous oxide whipped cream dispenser exploded
I knew they used laughing gas for whipped cream, but it also has other uses.
At approximately 565 degrees F, nitrous oxide separates into two parts oxygen and one part nitrogen. This added oxygen speeds up the combustion process. If extra fuel is added during nitrous injection, the result is similar to a supercharger. Extra fuel is needed, otherwise disastrous, damaging results will happen to an engine.
Nitrous oxide has this effect because a cubic foot of it contains 2.3 times as much oxygen as a cubic foot of air. By substituting nitrous oxide for the air going into the engine, more horsepower is created. We installed a BoonDocker kit on our 2005 Ski-Doo Mach Z demo snowmobile.
What are the principal applications of nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide finds beneficial use in a number of legitimate applications such as:
the danger is of course that it will be inhaled for a "high", and if you read the entire article it discusses the problem of theft and diversion of the gas.
We sometimes use it to help pain relief during labor etc, without putting the lady to sleep, but when abused, often the person doesn't realize it doesn't contain oxygen so they can pass out and die...
There were a few deaths years ago in a hospital where someone mixed up the N2O outlet with the O2 outlet.... usually this didn't matter, since most masks or nose prongs are not completely sealed and mix oxygen with room air, but it did alas kill some people who had low oxygen levels to begin with before they noticed.
As for the abuse: UKGuardian discusses it's use as a club drug.
the CDC puts it in the list of "inhalant" abuse LINK
sigh. we often saw "huffers" of gasoline or other inhalants by young teens.
Although the medical problems are real, the real problem is some of these kids don't use it just a couple times as experimentation, but end up using it and other drugs to get high and they never grow up... in the worst case scenario, they kill themselves by overdosing or in a car wreck, or maybe they end up in jail for stealing to buy the drugs.
But even in the best case scenario, you get PeterPan, like the guy in "Knocked up", or the unambitious guy in that is linked to in this annalthouse blogpost:
Of course this is nothing new: Lotus Land seduced sailors in the Bronze age too.