Upon use, the propellant is heated or passed over a catalyst bed and the nitrous oxide decomposes into oxygen-rich gasses. Special care is needed in the chemical formulation and engine design to prevent detonating the stored fuel.
The agent used for rocket fuel in a shuttle is paramount; weight, thrust, cost, toxicity, risk of explosions and other problems make it important for scientists to design rockets with appropriate propellants.
Like hydrazine it has a positive enthalpy of formation that makes it both potentially unstable and a viable monopropellant.
It can be decomposed with a catalyst to produce a hot mixture of nitrogen and oxygen.
Risks can vary, depending on how the drug is administered.
Inhaling nitrous oxide directly from a pressurised canister can damage the lungs.
According to the latest Global Drug Survey, nitrous oxide – or laughing gas – is now the seventh most popular drug in the 50 countries surveyed.
Just over half the UK respondents said they had tried the drug at some point, and 38 per cent said they had used it in the last year, making it more popular in the UK than any other country.
The complexities involved in building propulsion systems that can safely handle nitrous oxide fuel blend monopropellants have been a deterrent to serious development.Availability is affected by national laws but, generally, where the drug is available it is either dispensed from large canisters or small bulbs (“whippets”), into balloons, which is then used to inhale.Because nitrous oxide has legitimate uses in the food industry (to make whipped cream or in home brewing), it can easily be bought from online retailers such as catering companies.Nitrous Oxide Fuel Blend propellants are a class of liquid rocket propellants intended to replace hydrazine as the standard rocket fuel.The fuel and oxidizer are blended and stored; this is sometimes referred to as a mixed monopropellant.