Nitrogen:Is it really that great?

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May 11, 2005
Seattle Wa
Costco is filling its tires with nitrogen ans putting a green cap on it. Is it really worththe trouble for the average joe? I would think if it was so great a least one car maker would have touted it. No other big boys have jumped on the bandwagon as far as I know. Do any manufaturers fill thier tire with nitogen. Any reasonny price nitro makers available?
I think its a load of nonsense. Atmospheric air is already 78% nitrogen anyway. DRY air is very good to have....which is probably the main benefit of the nitrogen tanks.
Can you even get 100% N2 in a tire? When you mount it, the tire has air inside at ATM pressure. Unless you vacuum purge it, there will always be some % of O2 and H2O inside.
I assume the tire is deflated before they put the 100% nitrogen in. That means the tire contains one atomosphere, or approx. 15 psia of air. Filling tires to 35 psi adds 2.3 atmospheres, for a total of 3.3 atmospheres. of which about 30% is air. Of that 30%, approx. 20% is not nitrogen. So, the total amount of gas other than nitrogen would be about 6%.
I use nitrogen. Yes it is better. The airline industry,Nascar and military use nitrogen. However,I have a buddy who deals with nitrogen. So it's easy fopr me to get. I just had him do the initial fill and I keep nitrogen in a portable tank for a top off when necessary. So it's easy for me to obtain. If this wasn't the case regular air would do. [Big Grin]
Me to both vehicles use Nitrogen. Not having to check/refill makes it very worthwhile. Dealers here without Nitrogen losing customers to those that do. A no-brainer really
Military uses nitrogen in tires? The only reason we filled our aircraft tires with nitrogen because it was easy to do. We use nitrogen from large tanks to precharge accumulators on our hydraulic systems. I've seen several tires blow when crewchiefs got a little careless with those high pressure tanks.
Not just that but the military hardly uses nitrogen in ALL their apps. The 1st four years I served out of ten was as a SP (security police) and our patrol cars and trucks were filled using a regular air compressor. I ended up in a fighter squadron for 3.5 years and if they were putting nitrogen in the tires of the F-15s I never noticed (wasn't part of the maintanence crew). They may have though. I can see where that may be critical if the nitrogen fill is more stable under high heat and alttitude.
I bought new tires from Costco about 6 weeks back. They filled w/ nitrogen - got those green caps. I checked the air pressure couple of weeks back after it started getting colder out here - still had to add air to the tires and no it wasn't nitrogen. But I certainly won't say no to a nitrogen top-off when they rotate the tires next.
Nitrogen and oxygen molecules have two atoms, and are next to each other on the periodic table. Their sizes are similar, and their response to temperature/pressure are similar. No difference, other than nitrogen contains no moisture, and even that makes almost zero difference.
tyres never wear out from the inside. i have seen old tyres from the 60's that were to rotted you wouldnt think they could support a cement block, yet the inside of the tyre looks like new because it has been sitting for 40 years with a steel wheel keeping out most of the elements. the only time the inside of a tyre wears out is when you run one low. the inside of the tyre gets real hot and "crumbles" away the inner lining at a point halfway up the sidewall.
"Nitrogen and oxygen molecules have two atoms, and are next to each other on the periodic table. Their sizes are similar, and their response to temperature/pressure are similar. No difference, other than nitrogen contains no moisture, and even that makes almost zero difference." So if there's almost zero difference,why has the aviation industry,Nascar and military continue to use nitrogen and have for many years. [I dont know]
If non-nitrogen molecules leak out, it seems like tires filled with air would eventually be filled with near 100% nitrogen after a few air top ups. Because the air lost was mostly non-nitrogen.
I'm with Kanling, the people who "believe" don't want to see the gaps in the logic - if Oxygen leaks out, soon you would have just Nitrogen in every tire. (which does not happen) N2 filling started as a source of perfectly dry, cheap fill, without the hassles of compressor maintenance, marketing people jumped on it as different, then made up some reasons why it would be "better". I think the reduced leakage just reflects the strides made in tire design and manufacture in the last twenty years. . . . doc
The biggest and best reason to use Nitrogen in tires... It does not contribue to fire in the way Oxygen does. This is why the airline industry, NASCAR and the military fill their tires with nitrogen. In case of a vehicle crash/fire, the tires may explode, instantly releasing a high volume of oxygen into an exsisting fire. Nitrogen prevents this, from what I remember.
I find this hard to believe. The volume of air in a tire is insignificant compared with ambient air. I tend to believe nitrogen is used simply because it is the cheapest and most readily available source of dried air. For that matter, considering the dew points we've been recently experiencing, I suggest anybody that wants dry air in their tires to deflate and inflate their tires a couple times to replace the damp air with dry ambient air.
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