Where does nitrous oxide come from?

by | Jun 24, 2009 10:00 AM ET

You Asked

Where does nitrous oxide come from? --- Conner, Houston, Texas

Marshall Answered

There are three ways to answer this question:

1) Where does nitrous oxide come from? Where can you get nitrous oxide if you would like to purchase it?

2) Where does nitrous oxide come from? How could I make nitrous oxide in my garage?

3) Where does nitrous oxide come from? How do manufacturers make nitrous oxide at a nitrous oxide factory?

If you want to purchase nitrous oxide, the easiest way to do it is buy a nitrous oxide bottle for a car's nitrous system and take it to a performance shop. They will fill it with liquid nitrous oxide.

If you want a very small quantity, you can find it in a can of Reddi-Wip (although there is some talk that they are switching over to butane instead as the propellant).

If you would like to make nitrous oxide at home, you can find instructions here. Or this is a more complex method:

The video description:

The usual way of making Nitrous Oxide is by heating Ammonium Nitrate until decomposition. This reaction is very risky, as there is a danger of an explosion.
In this video, Nitrous Oxide is made using Sodium Nitrite and Hydroxylammonium Chloride, which is a lot safer. The reason why this is not done in industry, is because the chemicals are much more expensive.

Large scale production mimics the first simple home method with a few extra steps, as described here.

See also:

- How does nitrous oxide help an engine perform better?

- Details About Nitrous Oxide

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