Nitrous Oxide

January 2009
World Book Science Dataset;1/1/2009, p1
Reference Entry
Nitrous Oxide, or Laughing Gas, a colorless gas with a sweet, pleasant odor. It is a general anesthetic, a substance that produces unconsciousness and loss of feeling. It was one of the first anesthetics to be discovered. Nitrous oxide is called laughing gas because it produces laughing fits when inhaled in small amounts. To make nitrous oxide, ammonia vapor is treated with nitric acid to form ammonium nitrate. Heating the nitrate causes it to decompose into nitrous oxide and water. Burning can take place in nitrous oxide almost as well as in pure oxygen. Nitrous oxide dissolves in water.


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