Talk:NOx

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Distinguish from nitrous oxide[edit]

Isn't it also used as a booster in car racing? I seem to remember it from The Fast and the Furious. RickK 20:30, 2 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Is this the same as nitrous oxide? Koyaanis Qatsi 20:32, 2 Aug 2003 (UTC)


No, nitrous oxide is N2O; nitrous oxide too is the compound occasionally used by the testosterone boys where it mainly serves to throw rods and break U-joints, though a good deal of horsepower is given off before everything flies apart. I can't remember why it helps; perhaps there's enough energy in the bond between the N2 and the O to make up for the relatively lower oxidizing capacity than oxygen.

I believe that NOx is properly written NOx and is either NO2, nitrogen dioxide, or NO, nitric oxide, or any mixture of the two. NO is unstable in the atmosphere at forms NO2 through reaction with oxygen; NO2 forms nitric acid HNO3 through the reaction 2NO2 + 2H2O ==> 2HNO3 + H2 (gas). In the atmosphere, either can form Nitric acid, which eventually precipitates out in rain or snow.

Your actual mileage may vary; I didn't crack a book and a chemist is on the long list of things at User:Kat/What Kat is not.  :-).. Kat 20:58, 2 Aug 2003 (UTC)

But, in the movie, and in a recent episode of CSI, they refered to the booster as nox, however it's spelled. Even if NOX isn't nitrous oxide, it is what they're calling the booster stuff. RickK, even less of a chemist and only knows his science from watching movies and tv shows
Hmm. I'll just venture to say that if you call up Praxair or Airgas or whoever it is that you usually call when you need to get a cylinder or two of industrial gasses in your part of the world, that they will give you the telephone equivalent of a blank stare if you ask for NOx. Kat 01:16, 3 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Well, the answer to why it helps boost engine performance is answered here: nitrous oxide. Ayule 01:20, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)


           N2O                 dinitrogen oxide            OR                   nitrogen(I) oxide
           NO                  nitrogen oxide               OR                   nitrogen(II) oxide
           NO2                 nitrogen dioxide            OR                   nitrogen(IV) oxide


NOx is the generic term for all oxides of nitrogen, both nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — maybe others, but I don't think so. Yes, it should properly be written as NOx, which you would code in a Wikipedia page (or any HTML document) as: NO<sub>x</sub> . The subscript of course indicates how many atoms of the preceding element/symbol are in the molecule, the x naturally is a variable.

Either way, both are quite reactive in the atmosphere, because the oxygen has a valence (number of available bonds) of 2, and nitrogen has 3. As far as I know, nitric (or nitrogen, or nitrogen II) oxide molecules have a double bond between the two atoms, nitrogen dioxide (or nitrogen IV oxide) has either a triangle of single bonds (with the third nitrogen bond left open, which is what makes it reactive), or maybe more likely an NO molecule with an oxygen attached to the formerly-free nitrogen bond on one side, and itself open on the other (keeping it reactive). I know that sunlight is a catalyst for these reactions, especially on hot, stagnant, smoggy summer days.

"Nitrous" (nitrous oxide, or nitrogen I oxide, or N2O) is definitely different than the first two, used as "laughing gas" at the dentist's office (and the one time I had it, I felt like I was going to die of suffocation! ack!). It is heavier than air, which makes your voice deeper, the opposite of helium. It is also used in cars, especially in remote control model cars, to give extra "kick" to the combustion in the engine, though I don't know exactly how this works.

I made a couple of crude diagrams below, the first is NO, the last is N2O, one of the other two is NO2 (which I'm not sure of the structure of). Note the "un-terminated" bond (free radical) on the first three, which is what makes them so reactive.

O=N-      O-O
          \ /       O
           N       / \
O=N-O-     |       N=N

(Did I just write an article?) --Radiojon 23:11, 5 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Nitrogen oxide lists five oxides, only two of which fit the formula NOx. Should these articles be merged, or reference each other, or exchange pieces with each other? Also, I've come across a reference to N2O2 in Progress spacecraft, which isn't mentioned in either article. Where should that go? Bryan 20:18, 21 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I have resolved this one - there was a typo on the page it should be N2O4 - the actual link went to the right page. Its now fixed.--NHSavage 10:49, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me that the x should be italicized (NOx), as variables normally are. Gene Nygaard 05:08, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well in atmospheric chemistry NOx always refers to the sum of NO plus NO2. The reason for this is that during daylight in the troposphere they are involved in a rapid cycle which quickly reaches a steady state.

NO+O3 → NO2 + O2

NO2+ photon → NO + O

O + O2 → O3

Because these 2 compounds are so closely connected it is often useful to look at their sum.

I suspect that we need to differentiate between this use and the scientifically flawed but widspread (?) use of this term for Nitrous OXide. Perhaps NOX is nitrous oxide while NOx is NO+NO2 ? I think probably the whole heirarchy needs some work as their are several pages for different case combinations and the disambiuation should include all then redirect properly. Some of the chemistry from this thread should go in somewhere as well.

Tropospheric ozone is produced when NO reacts with peroxy radicals to give NO2.

User:NHSavage 17:27, 10 Aug 2005 (UTC)

I have now merged the 2 disambiguation pages and refered to the use of the phrase NOx for nitrous oxide there.--NHSavage 10:37, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Presumably it is called NOx because it is NOxious? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 15:49, 3 October 2013 (UTC)