Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless, non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects. It is known as "laughing gas" due to the euphoric effects of inhaling it, a property that has led to its recreational use as a dissociative anesthetic. It is also used as an oxidizer in rocketry and in motor racing to increase the power output of engines. At elevated temperatures, nitrous oxide is a powerful oxidizer similar to molecular oxygen.

Nitrous oxide gives rise to NO (nitric oxide) on reaction with oxygen atoms, and this NO in turn reacts with ozone. As a result, it is the main naturally occurring regulator of stratospheric ozone. It is also a major greenhouse gas and air pollutant. Considered over a 100-year period, it has 298 times more impact 'per unit weight' (Global warming potential) than carbon dioxide.

Read more about Nitrous OxideOccurrence, History, Production, Properties and Reactions, Neuropharmacology, Safety, Legality

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Famous quotes related to nitrous oxide:

    The sight of a planet through a telescope is worth all the course on astronomy; the shock of the electric spark in the elbow, outvalues all the theories; the taste of the nitrous oxide, the firing of an artificial volcano, are better than volumes of chemistry.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)