Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a chemical compound used as an oxidizing agent to increase an internal combustion engine’s power output
by allowing more fuel to be burned than would normally be the case.
Nitrous oxide is stored as a liquid in tanks, but because of its low boiling point it vaporizes easily when released to atmosphere. When injected into an inlet manifold, this characteristic causes a reduction in air/fuel charge temperature with an associated increase in density, thereby increasing the cylinder’s volumetric efficiency.
Nitrous systems can increase power by as little as 0.5 hp (0.37 kW) or as much as 3,000 hp (2,200 kW), depending on the engine type and nitrous system type. In many applications torque gains are even greater as increased fuel is burnt at a lower rpm range and is what causes the significant improvement in acceleration.