What Does Nitrous Oxide Do?

Nitrous Oxide, a colorless and sweet gas, is an oxidant with the chemical formula N₂O. It can be decomposed by heating ammonium nitrate. N2O consists of 2 nitrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom and is soluble in water. Is nitrogen oxide flammable? It can support combustion under certain conditions because it can be decomposed into nitrogen and oxygen at high temperatures. It is a stable gas at room temperature, which is usually compressed into a liquid state and enclosed in a steel or aluminum pressure-resistant bottle. The steel bottle filling N₂O can be called cream chargers, nitrous oxide tanks, food-grade nitrous oxide tanks, high purity nitrous oxide tanks, or medical nitrous oxide tanks, depending on the purity level of N2O gas. It has a mild anesthetic effect and can cause people to laugh, so it is also called laughing gas.


What is nitrous oxide used for?

Nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) is mainly used in different industries such as medical anesthesia, food processing, aerospace, and racing engines. This article will introduce it from three aspects: medical anesthesia, food processing, and aerospace.

What does nitrous oxide do in medical anesthesia?

In 1799, the English chemist Humphrey Davey discovered that nitrous oxide has a mild anesthetic effect. It was used as anesthesia for dental surgery in the early days. Currently, nitrous oxide is used in surgery and dentistry. In addition, nitrous oxide remains the most widely used general anesthetic, primarily for balance anesthesia and clinical and emergency analgesia. Nitrous oxide is used as a non-invasive way to relieve labor pains.

The nitrous oxide, used in clinical applications, is mixed with 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen. It is an inert inorganic compound with a colorless and sweet taste. It produces pharmacological effects by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system and the conduction of nerve impulses and changing the permeability of ion channels. It has no irritation to the respiratory tract, does not bind with hemoglobin, and has no adverse effects on the heart, liver, and kidneys. After inhalation, nitrous oxide rapidly affects, and the analgesic effect occurs in 30-50 seconds. The effect disappears after childbirth. The analgesic effect is good, the side effects are few. It is very safe so pregnant women and fetuses cannot worry about the safety of the N2O. Meanwhile, it is easily accepted by puerpera. It is an ideal childbirth analgesic gas.

nitrous oxide used by a dentist

Why don t dentists use nitrous oxide anymore?

Excessive use of nitric oxide can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency and hypoxia, resulting in nerve damage, limb numbness, and loss of mobility. Besides, it causes organ damage, coma, paralysis, and even death in severe cases.

What does nitrous oxide do in food processing agents?

It can be used for fruit and vegetable preservation and whipped cream

N2O can prolong the storage life of recalcitrant seeds such as litchi and longan seeds. Besides, it can inhibit the production of ethylene in tomato fruits, and reduce the rot of some climacteric and non-climacteric fruits. Nitrous oxide can improve the fresh-keeping effect of bananas and reduce the incidence of banana crown rot too.

Nitrous oxide is used for whipping cream in beverage stores. The cream charger is pressurized by a cream whipper, which expands the cream in the cream whipper. It’s faster than a blender and hand whipping.

cream whipper
cream whipper

What does nitrous oxide do in Aerospace?

Since nitrous oxide is neither combustible nor toxic, it is a combustion accelerant. In aerospace technology, nitrous oxide has a wide range of uses. It can not only be used in solid-liquid engines, but also in cold gas propulsion and single-component propulsion, dual-component propulsion, and electrothermal propulsion. The thrust ranges from millinewtons to newtons and even kilonewtons. Because the decomposition products of nitrous oxide are oxygen and nitrogen, the oxygen can be collected and can be used by astronauts. So nitrous oxide can also as the oxygen source of the spacecraft. At the same time, when the liquid laughing gas is converted into a gaseous state, it will absorb a lot of heat, and it can also be used as a cold source for spacecraft.