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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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OT - Nitrogen powered air tools.....What???

I have been told NASCAR teams use nitrogen to power their air tools on race day instead of just compressed air, why? I thought nitrogen atoms were smaller than O2 atoms (mass not equal volume?), can someone explain this to me? I don't get why the push to fill your tires either with nitrogen, is this another gimmick for the the consumer?

1985 CJ with a transplanted 94YJ 4.0L motor, T176 tranny, mainly stock otherwise. ><>
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 05:42 PM
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Only thing I can think of is when you've got millions of dollars at stake and its race day why not run the best? For tires, nitrogen is dry. It's expansion rate with heat is completely predictable and can be calculated. Shop air contains moisture, how much moisture??? When you talk race tires any amount can throw off a tire/suspension set up.

I'd guess the same is true for their air tools. Moisture can foul up the works of a tool when a 6 second pit stop is required! Again, these guys are racing for the money. For you and I, shop air is fine for tires and tools. The shops that sell nitrogen tire fills are trying to separate you from your money.
post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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It is true that NASCAR, and some other top forms of racing use nitrogen in tires and for jacks, impact wrenches, ect.

The reasoning is that nitrogen pressures can be run higher than standard air compressors can put out,
The higher pressures of the nitrogen bottle are reduced by a regulator, where an air bottle usually starts out at a set pressure then lessens,
Nitrogen is completely dry, so guns and jacks work more consistently, giving closer torque tolerances,
And nitrogen doesn't expand & contract in the tires with heat like 'air' does.
There are also contaminants in 'air' you won't find in bottled nitrogen.

Keep in mind that it takes much more nitrogen to do the same job as 'air', simply because nitrogen isn't as dense as common 'air'.

Your source also forgot to mention that the average impact gun set up for nitrogen is about $1,900, and nitrogen is much harder on the internal components of the impact gun simply because you can't lubricate (contaminate) the inside of a nitrogen air gun.
The average floor jack set up for nitrogen is just under $5,000.

Nitrogen is more stable as a tire (pressure) filler.
CO2 is same, just as clean, but much cheaper.

Personally, I'm running an on board compressor, so I'm sticking with air.
The CO2 tank guys usually can keep up, right up until they the tank runs dry...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 06:50 PM
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Here is the best write-up I have ever seen done on Nitrogen vs. Air. It was done by Power Tank of all people. Which side do you think they came down on? You might be surprised...

- Powertank.com

"And then I said, 'Just like that, but with more gas!' Oops..."
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Junk Yard Genius View Post
And nitrogen doesn't expand & contract in the tires with heat like 'air' does.
Avogadro says you’re wrong. Call him and ask, his number is 6.022142 × 10^23

There are 10 kinds of people in the world.
Those who understand binary and those who don't.

Last edited by CJ7Taz; 07-02-2007 at 07:39 PM.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Junk Yard Genius View Post
.....
And nitrogen doesn't expand & contract in the tires with heat like 'air' does.

like all gases, nitrogen will expand ...just like air does.

pV=nRT, ideal gas law


hooray! I learnified something in college!

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 08:53 PM
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Could it be the moisture issue?

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I feel much better now, I will continue to breath and use "clean" O2.

1985 CJ with a transplanted 94YJ 4.0L motor, T176 tranny, mainly stock otherwise. ><>
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 12:52 PM
 
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I noticed that in the pits at Indy. I wondered if it was a reliabililty issue. A lot less to go wrong with a full tank of compressed gas, than compressing it as you need it. I've used C02 for portable air tool power. Works well, and the fact that the C02 liquifies to fit more into the tank is a bonus. I used a large brass regulator designed for high volume. You could get a lot of cooling effect if you use a lot of gas quickly.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 01:07 PM
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My understanding it has to do with the water/water vapor in compressed air and it's effect on tire pressures as the tires heat up. I'm sure the reliability and portability figure into it also.

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