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Just what is "Nitro"?

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Just what is "Nitro"?

Old 01-02-2007, 02:15 PM
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Charlie P.
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Default Just what is "Nitro"?

Nitromethane is used as a fuel in racing, particularly drag racing, to provide more power.[2] In this context, it is commonly referred to as "nitro" or just "fuel".

The oxygen content of nitromethane enables it to burn with much less atmospheric oxygen in comparison to hydrocarbons such as gasoline:

4CH3NO2 + 3O2 → 4CO2 + 6H2O + 2N2
14.6 kg of air are required to burn one kg of gasoline, but only 1.7 kg of air for one kg of nitromethane. Since an engine’s cylinder can only contain a limited amount of air on each stroke, 8.7 times more nitromethane than gasoline can be burned in one stroke. However, nitromethane has a lower energy density. Gasoline provides about 42-44 MJ/kg, nitromethane provides only 11.3 MJ/kg. This analysis indicates that nitromethane generates about 2.3 times the power of gasoline when combined with a given amount of oxygen.

Nitromethane can also be used as a monopropellant. Without additional oxygen nitromethane will combust according to:

4CH3NO2 → 4CO + 4H2O + 2H2 + 2N2
Nitromethane has a laminar combustion velocity of approx. 0.5 m/s, somewhat higher than gasoline, thus making nitromethane suitable for high speed engines. It also has a somewhat higher flame temperature of about 2400 °C. The high heat of vaporisation of 0.56 MJ/kg together with the high fuel flow provides significant cooling of the incoming charge (about twice that of methanol), resulting in reasonably low temperatures. In a Top Fuel dragracing engine this alone will provide the cooling of the engine.

Nitromethane is usually used with rich air/fuel mixtures. This is partly because nitromethane can provide power even in the absence of atmospheric oxygen, and also because nitromethane tends to produce severe knock and pre-ignition. Rich mixtures cause ignition problems and a lower combustion speed.

When rich air/fuel mixtures are used, hydrogen and carbon monoxide will be two of the combustion products, when these and any unburned fuel comes into contact with the oxygen in the atmosphere at the end of the exhaust pipes they often ignite. The result is spectacular flames from the exhaust system.

A small amount of hydrazine blended in nitromethane can increase the power output even further. With nitromethane, hydrazine forms an explosive salt that can combust by using only the oxygen in the nitromethane. This mixture is unstable and it poses a severe safety hazard.

In model aircraft and car glow fuel, the primary ingredient is generally methanol with some nitromethane (0% to 65%, but rarely over 30% since nitromethane is expensive compared to methanol) and 10-20% lubricants (usually castor oil or a synthetic oil.) Even moderate amounts of nitromethane tends to increase the power created by the engine (as the limiting factor is often the air intake) and make the engine easier to tune (adjust for the proper air/fuel ratio) properly. During combustion, this fuel produces a characteristic blue smoke.

Nitromethane has also been used as a rocket fuel.
K. Owen and T. Coley, "Automotive Fuels Reference Book - 2nd edition", Chapter 13 "Racing Fuels", ISBN 1-56091-589-7 (1995)


CH3NO2; the simplest organic nitrogen molecule.

I see the word "Nitro" used around here frequently but sometimes with little apparent understanding of what it is and why it is added to glow fuel. Here is an authorative explanation. It adds a bit of power, burns a little cooler, allows leaner/higher RPM runs. It does not cure cancer or the common cold, perform miracles or allow automatic entry into Valhalla for it's users.
Old 01-02-2007, 03:03 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

Damn, I was hoping to go to Valhalla this weekend.
Old 01-02-2007, 04:02 PM
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Charlie P.
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?


ORIGINAL: MinnFlyer

Damn, I was hoping to go to Valhalla this weekend.
Plan B is to die with your enemy's Monokote melted to your muffler. Valkyries? Where are my Valkyries?
Old 01-02-2007, 07:34 PM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

But if the condition continues for more than four hours, contact your doctor - right after you brag to all your buddies!
Old 01-03-2007, 01:16 PM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

ORIGINAL: Charlie P.


Valkyries? Where are my Valkyries?
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:34 PM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

Jeez, all these years I wondered what Valkaries looked like.

Dam if they don't look just like horses.

(BTW, are them wimmin on them Valkaries what they call AMAZONS?) (I thought Amazons only had one arm so they can't be, can they?)
Old 01-03-2007, 11:36 PM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

Nitromethane is usually used with rich air/fuel mixtures. This is partly because nitromethane can provide power even in the absence of atmospheric oxygen, and also because nitromethane tends to produce severe knock and pre-ignition. Rich mixtures cause ignition problems and a lower combustion speed.

And therein lies the reason a rich needle setting is a bit more critical with higher percentage of nitro blends.
Old 01-03-2007, 11:42 PM
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da Rock
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

OK, now what is propolene oxide?

(One fuel mfg I knew added a percentage of it for every 10% of nitro in his fuels. Said it was an igniter for the nitro. I always wondered why something like nitro needed an igniter.)
Old 01-03-2007, 11:49 PM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

Nitro is actually very difficult to ignite. It takes a bit of compression and a lot of heat to ignite the stuff. Pour straight nitro on the ground or in a cup and try to light it. The VAPORS are extremely volitile. But the liquid is very difficult to ignite.
Old 01-04-2007, 08:33 AM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

Nitro sounds a lot like my wife... She needs very little to make her become volatile [sm=what_smile.gif]
Old 01-04-2007, 09:53 AM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?


ORIGINAL: MinnFlyer

Nitro sounds a lot like my wife... She needs very little to make her become volatile [sm=what_smile.gif]
...and a glow plug to light her fire?
Old 01-04-2007, 10:01 AM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

In that case, I'm a glow plug [:@]
Old 01-05-2007, 04:33 AM
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

I see the word "Nitro" used around here frequently but sometimes with little apparent understanding of what it is and why it is added to glow fuel. Here is an authorative explanation.
"Nitro" Used for blowing stuff up.

Sorry, been around an old powder monkey too long.

Cheers
Old 01-05-2007, 01:41 PM
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Charlie P.
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Default RE: Just what is "Nitro"?

(BTW, are them wimmin on them Valkaries what they call AMAZONS?) (I thought Amazons only had one arm so they can't be, can they?)
Nah. Them Amazons had trouble pulling a bow to full draw unless they carved off the left . . . well, let's say they would have to work at Ho_ters as bar maids.


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