Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, nitrous, nitro, or nos, is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. It is a colorless, non-flammable gas with a slightly sweet scent and taste at room temperature. At elevated temperatures, it is a powerful oxidizer similar to molecular oxygen. Nitrous oxide has significant medical uses, particularly in surgery and dentistry, for its anaesthetic and pain-reducing effects. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.

Nitrous oxide is used as a propellant in various applications, including rocketry, making whipped cream, and recreational drug use. Its atmospheric concentration reached 333 parts per billion (ppb) in 2020, increasing at a rate of about 1 ppb annually. It is a major scavenger of stratospheric ozone, with an impact comparable to that of CFCs. Nitrous oxide contributes significantly to global warming and is the third most important greenhouse gas.

Nitrous oxide is used as an oxidiser in rocket motors, as it is much less toxic and easier to store and carry on a flight. Its high density and low storage pressure make it highly competitive with stored high-pressure gas systems. American rocket pioneer Robert Goddard suggested nitrous oxide and gasoline as possible propellants for a liquid-fuelled rocket in a 1914 patent. Nitrous oxide has been the oxidiser of choice in several hybrid rocket designs, including SpaceShipOne and amateur and high power rocketry with various plastics as fuel.

Nitrous oxide can also be used in a monopropellant rocket, where it decomposes exothermically into nitrogen and oxygen at a temperature of approximately 1,070 °F (577 °C). The catalytic action rapidly becomes secondary, as thermal autodecomposition becomes dominant. Nitrous oxide is said to deflagrate at approximately 600 °C (1,112 °F) at a pressure of 309 psi (21 atmospheres), making it an option worth investigating.

In vehicle racing, nitrous oxide allows the engine to burn more fuel by providing more oxygen during combustion. The increase in oxygen allows an increase in the injection of fuel, allowing the engine to produce more engine power. Nitrous oxide is a strong oxidizing agent, roughly equivalent to hydrogen peroxide, and much stronger than oxygen gas.

Nitrous oxide is stored as a compressed liquid, and its evaporation and expansion in the intake manifold cause a large drop in intake charge temperature, resulting in a denser charge and more air/fuel mixture entering the cylinder. It is sometimes injected into or prior to the intake manifold or directly injected before the cylinder to increase power.

During World War II, Luftwaffe aircraft used nitrous oxide in their GM-1 system to boost the power output of aircraft engines. However, its use was limited to extremely high altitudes, and it was sometimes found on Luftwaffe aircraft also fitted with another engine-boost system, MW 50, a form of water injection for aviation engines that used methanol for its boost capabilities.

Nitrous oxide is a chemical compound that has been used in various industries, including automotive, food, medicine, and recreational use. It is an analgesic and analgesic that has been used since 1844 to relieve pain associated with childbirth, trauma, oral surgery, and acute coronary syndrome (including heart attacks). The gas is highly soluble in fatty compounds and can be used as an aerosol spray propellant in aerosol whipped cream canisters and cooking sprays.

In the United States, there was a shortage of aerosol whipped creams due to an explosion at the Air Liquide nitrous oxide facility in Florida in late August. This led to a diverting supply of nitrous oxide to medical clients rather than food manufacturing. In addition, cooking spray may also use nitrous oxide as a propellant, which includes food-grade alcohol and propane.

Nitrous oxide has been used in dentistry and surgery as an anesthetic and analgesic since 1844. It is administered through simple inhalers consisting of a breathing bag made of rubber cloth. Today, the gas is administered in hospitals by means of an automated relative analgesia machine, with an anaesthetic vaporiser and a medical ventilator. Nitrous oxide is a weak general anaesthetic, so it is generally not used alone in general anesthesia but used as a carrier gas (mixed with oxygen) for more powerful general anaesthetic drugs such as sevoflurane or desflurane.

Dentists use a simpler machine that only delivers an N2O/O2 mixture for the patient to inhale while conscious, keeping the patient conscious throughout the procedure and maintaining adequate mental faculties to respond to questions and instructions from the dentist. Nitrous oxide is also used in recreational use, where it is used to cause euphoria and/or slight hallucinations. Recreational use of nitrous oxide began as a phenomenon for the British upper class in 1799, known as "laughing gas parties."

The widespread availability of the gas for medical and culinary purposes allowed for its widespread use globally. In the UK, nitrous oxide was estimated to be used by almost half a million young people at nightspots, festivals, and parties. However, excessive consumption for excessive periods has the potential to cause neurological harm through Vitamin B12 deficiency, which can result in permanent neurological damage if left untreated.

In Australia, recreation use became a public health concern following a rise in reported cases of neurotoxicity and emergency room admissions. In 2020, legislation was passed in South Australia to restrict canister sales to prevent substance abuse.

Nitrous oxide is a significant occupational hazard for surgeons, dentists, and nurses due to its minimal metabolization rate in humans. It can pose an intoxicating and prolonged exposure hazard to clinic staff if the room is poorly ventilated. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends controlling workers' exposure to nitrous oxide during the administration of anaesthetic gas in medical, dental, and veterinary operators. The recommended exposure limit (REL) is 25 ppm (46 mg/m3) to escaped anaesthetic.

Nitrous oxide is neurotoxic, with evidence that medium or long-term habitual consumption of significant quantities can cause neurological harm with the potential for permanent damage if left untreated. It has been suggested that N2O produces neurotoxicity in the form of Olney's lesions in rodents upon prolonged exposure. However, it is argued that N2O is rapidly expelled from the body under normal circumstances, making it less likely to be neurotoxic than other NMDAR antagonists.

In heavy or frequent users reported to poison control centers, signs of peripheral neuropathy have been noted, such as ataxia or paresthesia. Nitrous oxide at 75% by volume reduces ischemia-induced neuronal death induced by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery in rodents and decreases NMDA-induced Ca2+ influx in neuronal cell cultures, a critical event involved in excitotoxicity.

Occupational exposure to ambient nitrous oxide has been associated with DNA damage due to interruptions in DNA synthesis. This correlation is dose-dependent and does not appear to extend to casual recreational use. Oxygen deprivation can occur if pure nitrous oxide is inhaled without oxygen, resulting in low blood pressure, fainting, and even heart attacks.

Long-term exposure to nitrous oxide may cause vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause serious neurotoxicity if the user has preexisting vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, including sensory neuropathy, myelopathy, and encephalopathy, may occur within days or weeks of exposure to nitrous oxide anaesthesia in people with subclinical vitamin B12 deficiency.

Prenatal development has been shown to have adverse effects on the developing fetus. Chemical/physical risks include the unusually sensitive pressure curve at room temperature, contamination of parts with fuels, and incidents where nitrous oxide decomposition in plumbing has led to the explosion of large tanks.

What is the CAS Number of Nitrous Oxide?

The CAS Number of Nitrous Oxide is 10024-97-2

What is the Molecular Formula of Nitrous Oxide?

The Molecular Formula of Nitrous Oxide is N2O

What is the Molecular Mass of Nitrous Oxide?

The Molecular Mass of Nitrous Oxide is 44.01

What is the SMILES Notation of Nitrous Oxide?

The SMILES Notation of Nitrous Oxide is [N-]=[N+]=O

What is the InChI Notation of Nitrous Oxide?

The InChI Notation of Nitrous Oxide is InChI=1S/N2O/c1-2-3

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