Nitrous oxide is a major greenhouse gas. It is emitted by bacteria in soils and oceans and thus being a part of Earth's atmosphere for eons. Nitrous oxide attacks ozone in the stratosphere, thus worsening the excess amount of UV light striking the earth's surface. Agriculture is the main source of human-produced nitrous oxide .
It is most commonly prepared by careful heating of ammonium nitrate, which decomposes into nitrous oxide and water vapor.
NH4NO3 >>> 2 H2O + N2O
Dangers of nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide has been safely used as a mild anesthetic for over 150 years. There are many problems that can occur from the excess use of nitrous oxide like
- Brain injury
- High levels of pressure may rupture blood vessels in the lungs and force air into the chest cavity, causing the lungs to collapse.
- Inhalant effects - It is a divisible drug that can cause
analgesia, depersonalization, de- realization, dizziness, euphoria,
sound distortion and slight hallucinations
- In medicine - It is regarded as a weak anesthetic so
generally not used alone in general anesthesia.
- Aerosol propellant - This gas is approved for use as a
food additive , specifically as an aerosol spray propellant. Its
most common uses are in aerosol whipped cream canisters, cooking
sprays and other similar snack foods.
- Rocket motors - It is used as an oxidizer in a rocket
- Internal combustion engine - In vehicle racing, nitrous
oxide is injected into the intake manifold to increase power.
- Neuropharmacology - Medical grade nitrous oxide tanks
used in dentistry.
- Safety - Exposure to nitrous oxide causes short-term decreases in mental performance, audiovisual ability, and manual dexterity
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