NANO Nitrous System - Nitrous Helper
NANO Nitrous System - Nitrous Helper
Feb 26 2010, 08:55 PM
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NANO Nitrous System - Nitrous Helper
The NANO System Uses Nitrogen To Maintain Nitrous Oxide Bottle Pressure, But Don't Call It A Push System.
By Jefferson Bryant
Photography by Jefferson Bryant
Consistent nitrous delivery means more performance and is the goal of the NANO system.
In a typical nitrous oxide system, as the nitrous releases, the bottle pressure drops, which reduces the amount of nitrous delivered to the engine. That also changes the nitrous-to-fuel ratio, changing the tune-up and power output as the car goes down the track. There are fixes, such as bottle heaters (the higher the temperature, the higher the bottle pressure) and what's known as a push system that raises bottle pressure by injecting nitrogen into it. But a heater is only marginally effective, and push systems come with their own sets of problems. They are uncontrollable because they use regulator valves that are set to a singular release rate, have a small orifice, and are not rated for constant flow. All these factors lead to lean/rich spikes that can be deadly to your engine, and pressure in the bottle can reach dangerous levels. The bottles used for these systems are not DOT approved and not large enough to be efficient.
This is the universal NANO system, which is good to 550 hp of nitrous boost. The system uses nitrogen gas stored under pressure in a separate reserve tank that must be installed within 60 inches of the nitrous bottle. The basic kit comes with a 12-inch line, but NANO keeps 18- and 24-inch lines on hand and can make custom lengths on request. The kit comes with bottle brackets that allow you to piggyback the nitrogen bottle to the nitrous bottle, or you can mount the nitrogen bottle to the rollbar/'cage or to the floor.
There's a chemical problem with pusher systems, too. The nitrogen injected into the nitrous bottle is intended as a capping gas, which is a gas that lies on top of a liquid and forms a boundary layer between the two so the gas and liquid do not mix. A push system's main duty is to raise bottle pressure to push nitrous out. The problem with that is the elevated pressure from the air or nitrogen is often higher than the nitrous oxide's equilibrium pressure, which contaminates the liquid nitrous and reduces its density. That means the system does not deliver pure nitrous oxide to the engine, and since the density of the nitrous has been reduced, the volume flow may remain consistent, but the mass flow (weight/second) will vary dramatically. That's not good when trying to tune a car to the nth degree. In essence, a push system overenergizes the nitrous system by overpressurizing the nitrous bottle.
The new solution is the NANO system, which stands for nitrogen-assisted nitrous oxide. NANO's Tom Darnell Sr. says, "The primary objective of a NANO system is to achieve consistent mass flow of nitrous oxide exiting the nitrous bottle. Instead of elevating the nitrous bottle pressure to push nitrous out of the bottle, the NANO changes the effective size of the nitrous bottle by injecting a bubble of capping gas into the dome of the bottle at a regulated pressure. The regulator adjusts pressure and rate of airflow to achieve this objective." The result is a steady flow of uncontaminated nitrous, as if the bottle is always full.
Troy Scott's '70 Opel GT is a force to be reckoned with. In 10 head-to-head alcohol Funny Car versus Opel matchups, Troy has won 9
The NANO system is a bolt-on kit added to an existing setup, and it uses nitrogen gas (or air) stored under pressure in a separate reserve tank. There are three basic kits: Universal, Sport, and Competition. Using your nitrous bottle, the original valve is replaced with a special valve with an additional fitting for the nitrogen gas. This valve is based on an NOS SuperHiFlo valve. Rated at a sustained flow of 0.45 lb/sec of liquid nitrous oxide, the valve is capable of delivering 550 hp worth of spray.
A typical 10-pound nitrous bottle plumbed to a 180hp system yields about 40 seconds of full-power nitrous. That means you are likely to get about three quarter-mile runs in a 10-second car before you have to swap bottles. With the NANO kit, the nitrous sprays at a consistent level for 80 seconds. That is twice as much time with the same bottle and should be good for at least six runs on a single bottle, with full power all the way down the track.
In addition to the ability to get the most out of the bottle, the NANO potentially provides more power. As the standard bottle is used, the initial hit of nitrous is full power, but as the bottle empties, the pressure drops and lessens nitrous delivery. That means as the car goes down the track, the power increase from the nitrous is constantly decreasing. You might start off with a 180hp hit and end with only a 100hp hit. A bottle heater has no effectiveness during a pass.
The Opel's weapon of choice is a 592ci behemoth that makes 1,000 hp before the 500 shot of nitrous. Troy builds these engines for a living, but unlike at '05 Drag Week, he usually builds them in a shop.
NANO nitrous, however, is only used while the system is actively spraying. There is no waiting for the bottle pressure to come up, and it works regardless of actual bottle temperature. As you make a pass with the NANO engaged, the bottle pressure is maintained at a preset static rate of 1,050 psi, which provides a dynamic pressure of approximately 950 psi in the bottle. Other than the half-second reaction time (for the nitrogen valve to react, open, and release the gas), the nitrous system has perfect bottle pressure through the entire run. In most cases, you will want to rejet the nitrous system 20 percent lower than normal to put it back to the same performance as the non-NANO system. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with the NANO. Swapping bottles at the track would require having two or more nitrous bottles fitted with modified NANO valves. And anytime you swap the nitrous bottle, it is a good idea to top off the nitrogen bottle.
The last caveat for the NANO is the nitrogen itself. While nitrogen is an inert safe gas, the pressures required for use in this system are quite high. The nitrogen bottle is an HPA (high-pressure air) device and must be filled to 4,500 psi. If you live in a small town, finding a shop that can fill to that pressure may prove difficult, as most welding supply shops do not have that kind of capability on-site. However, they should be able to deliver large HPA cylinders (for purchase or rent) that you can use to fill the smaller NANO cylinder. Scuba diving and paint-ball supply shops use similar HPA equipment and should have the ability to fill the nitrogen bottle. Furthermore, the local fire station and fire equipment refill stations will be able to fill your bottle.
Installing the system is simple. The biggest issue is removing the original valve from the nitrous bottle; to solve that, you can purchase a brand-new NANO-equipped bottle from NANO Nitrous. The nitrogen bottle was mounted to the door bar using a pair of stainless steel ring clamps. The nitrogen bottle needs to be removed, just like the nitrous bottle, for refilling. That's it: no electrical, no plumbing. The entire process takes less than 30 minutes.
Nitrogen-assist systems are DOT legal, and according to our research, NANO systems have been approved by the NHRA, and when properly installed, they pass inspection for NMRA, NMCA, PSCA, and IHRA sanctioning bodies. You should check your class rules to see if there will be any issues with running a NANO in your car.
To test the effectiveness of the NANO, we hooked up with Troy Scott of Troy Scott Racing Engines. This is the same Troy Scott who won the '05 Hot Rod Drag Week, along with brother Carl. For this article, we are featuring Troy's real race car, a '70 Opel GT that he runs in Outlaw, Pro Mod, and Sportsman classes. The car is powered by a 592ci Chevy big-block making 1,000 hp, assisted with a 500 shot of squeeze for a total of 1,500 hp. Running a single-stage nitrous system, the Opel consistently runs a 4.750 eighth-mile at around 149 mph.
After installing the NANO kit, we took the Opel to Mid-America Dragway in Arkansas City, Kansas, for a test-and-tune session. On the first run, using the standard nitrous system, the Opel ran a 4.739 at 149.95 with a 1.119 60-foot time. Troy rolled the valve open on the nitrogen bottle and made another pass. The Opel ran down the strip at 4.439 at 158.73 mph. Not only is this faster, but the real news is the 60-foot times were not that different. The NANO pass showed a 60-foot time of 1.115. What we derive from that result is the NANO system is providing the full 500hp shot all the way through the run, whereas the standard system loses power along the way. That is exactly three tenths and a 9-mph increase with the turn of a handle-not bad for a $700, 30-minute add-on.
The static nitrous pressure at room temperature for the N2O bottle was a little more than 800 psi. By simply rolling the valve open on the nitrogen bottle, the empty space in the nitrous bottle was filled up, allowing the nitrous to react to a smaller space, instantly pushing the pressure up to more than 950 psi. This pressure will be maintained until the nitrous bottle is empty.
The fitting at the bottom of the valve (arrow) is for the nitrogen assist. The second bottle was installed for future use with a second stage of nitrous.
The nitrogen bottle needs a high-pressure charge to the tune of 4,500 psi. If you can't find a local nitrogen filling station, you can buy one for just a few hundred dollars.
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