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Thread: Nitrogen inflation

  1. #1 Nitrogen inflation 
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    Just for fun. My local tyre centre advertises "nitrogen inflation" (I assume the obvious) with the claims that handling is improved, fuel economy is improved and tyre wear is reduced. Can any of these be true, if so why?

    (We actually have here - UK - rather strict laws about making fraudulent or unsubstantiated claims in adverts) so is it possible these claims are true?


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  3. #2  
    M
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    I think all of these claims are explained by a single aspect: Tire pressure. Handling and fuel economy are highest, and wear at its lowest, with the proper tire pressure. How does nitrogen help? Supposedly, molecule size (larger than average in air) makes all the difference in leakage. Less leakage means more consistent tire pressure.

    For aircraft and race cars this may be a big deal, but for your car? You can maintain a proper inflation by checking pressure regularly, using air. Here is what I am thinking: Air consists of mostly nitrogen (roughly 80% vol). How much better will pure nitrogen be? And at what additional cost? It seems ludicrous to market this to ordinary consumers, but of course they're trying...

    The claims are not "wrong" but irrelevant for most people.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by M
    I think all of these claims are explained by a single aspect: Tire pressure. Handling and fuel economy are highest, and wear at its lowest, with the proper tire pressure. How does nitrogen help? Supposedly, molecule size (larger than average in air) makes all the difference in leakage. Less leakage means more consistent tire pressure.
    Interesting. So you are saying that, given a perfect seal on the wheel rim and valve, the constituents of air other than nitrogen (which I take to be oxygen, the oxides of carbon, maybe a few others) "leak" through rubber more than nitrogen does?

    Could be, thanks anyway.
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  5. #4  
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    The number one cause of tire wear is driving with less then ideal trire pressure, same goes for fuel economy as it relates to tires. The width of the tire determines how much force is required to overcome friction of the road.

    The wider the tire the greater the friction, the greater the friction the greater the force needed to propell the vehicle, the more friction the more heat(remember heat expands the "Air" within the tire causing air loss due to overpressurzied environment within the tire), and wear that will also be put on the surface of the tire.

    As the previous poster stated there are small holes that air can escape, the greater the tire pressure beyond the design of the tire causes the expansion of the tire's fabric which enlarges the holes allowing more "air" to escape.

    Now of course we need a certain amount of grip/friction to obtain a certain safty level thus tires have certain width's for safty reason, but thin walled tires get better gas mileage this is will documented, and easy to test..

    So yes its true, but the better question to ask is to what degree will it improve these things . . that I am completly unsure of. The previous poster is likly correct in that its 90% marketing lol

    I love a little marketing with my cheezy pooffs

    Just read an experiment that shows at 32 psi, the advantage is 3% better gas milage, but I am not sure of the source material, looking over it now . . eh interesting if nothing else, I think ill just get the same results by making sure my tire pressure is right and stop being so lazy ; - )
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  6. #5  
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    There are no advantages to nitrogen inflation for the average driver. None. Zero, zip. Many professional racers inflate their tires with nitrogen; we assume they know what they are doing. That doesn't mean that anyone else will derive benefits.

    As for me, I prefer to inflate my tires with a custom blend of 79% nitogen, 20% oxygen, and 1% miscellaneous argon, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Costs a bit more but well worth it.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF
    There are no advantages to nitrogen inflation for the average driver. None. Zero, zip. Many professional racers inflate their tires with nitrogen; we assume they know what they are doing. That doesn't mean that anyone else will derive benefits.

    As for me, I prefer to inflate my tires with a custom blend of 79% nitogen, 20% oxygen, and 1% miscellaneous argon, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Costs a bit more but well worth it.
    Zero is a bold statment, you sure its not .0000000000000000000000125?



    After reviewing the data, its obvious it has advantages. IF you are good at keeping your tires at the proper inflatio then the advantage would be approaching nill . . . but obviously not zero . . .
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  8. #7  
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    Hey listen, guys. Thanks for your thought out responses, sincerely. But I guess I was asking for a more "physics-based" reply. Maybe there isn't one, I dunno.
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  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    i once had my tyres inflated with argon, which was claimed to lose pressure to a lesser extent because of argon being a larger atom / molecule (not sure which)

    not exactly sure whether this makes sense though - argon as an atom may be larger, but compared with N2 ?

    as for the difference between air and N2, surely that can't be about molecular size - is there a detrimental effect of oxygen on the rubber ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Well... at least we can rule out the placebo effect... (I think).

    Cheers
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  11. #10  
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    But I guess I was asking for a more "physics-based" reply.
    Guitarist, you can't get a "physics-based" reply until someone actually proves a real difference in results between air and nitrogen inflation. That hasn't happened. Instead we have speculation and theories, and many spurious claims, but as yet there is no reliable experimental evidence. Until we actually have positive results we must reject the claims as mere myth.
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  12. #11  
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    This article explains the claimed benefits. I don't know if it is worthwhile or not.

    http://www.tomorrowstechnician.com/tt/tt020532.htm
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Well... at least we can rule out the placebo effect... (I think). :)

    Cheers
    Oh dear. William, why don't you use your undoubted knowledge and undisputed intelligence to better effect, here and in the math sub-forum?

    Quips like this are amusing, but are usually out of place here. What's the opposite of "lighten up...."? Anyway, if it's something like "quit fooling around", that's what I mean, not that my question was especially deep.

    And cheers yourself.
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