Nitrous oxide - N<sub>2</sub>O

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is an oxide of nitrogen with a chemical formula N2O. This organic compound is colourless and non-flammable at room temperature. It is also known as nitrous or laughing gas. Joseph Priestley was the first to identify nitrous oxide in the year 1772. This compound is insoluble in water and works as a powerful oxidizer at higher temperatures. It has a slightly sweet odour and appears as a colourless gas. When inhaled in a small amount it causes mirth and euphoria. It is the world’s number one inhaled anaesthetic as it works as a quick pain reliever. It can cause a narcotic effect at higher concentrations and lead to death by asphyxia. Laughing gas formula is written as N2O.

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Properties of Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

N2O Nitrous oxide
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 44.013 g/mol
Density 1.98 kg/m³
Boiling Point -88.48 °C
Melting Point −90.86 °C

Nitrous oxide structure – N2O

Nitrous oxide structure

Structure of Nitrous oxide

Uses of Nitrous oxide (N2O)

  • It is used rocket motor as an oxidizer
  • It is used as a food additive as an aerosol spray propellant
  • It is used in the manufacturing of semiconductors
  • It is used in the medical field as an analgesic and anaesthetic
  • It is used as a flavouring ingredient
  • It is used in car racing as a fuel additive
  • It is used in dentistry
  • It is used to manufacture chemicals
  • It is used in surgery

Frequently asked questions

1. What is the other name for nitrous oxide?

Ans: Nitrous oxide is also called as laughing gas.

2. Write the chemical formula for nitrous oxide.

Ans: N2O.

3. What is the molecular mass of nitrous oxide?

Ans: 44.013 g/mol

4. What is the boiling point and melting point of nitrous oxide?

Ans: Its boiling point = -88.48 °C and melting point = −90.86 °C

5. List two uses of nitrous oxide.

Ans: Nitrous oxide is used as a food additive. Also, it is used in rocket motor as an oxidiser.

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