Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide ~ commonly known as laughing gas. It is a chemical compound with the formula N2O and is an oxide of nitrogen.

At room temperature, it is a colourless, non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odour and taste. It is used in both surgery and dentistry for its anaesthetic 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 anaesthetic. 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 oxidiser similar to molecular oxygen.

Nitrous oxide should not be confused with nitric oxide (formula NO) or nitrogen dioxide (formula NO2). The generic term NOx includes these two but does not include nitrous oxide.