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From: (Don Wilkins)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: OFF TOPIC!  Re: Nitrous Oxide
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 18:40:46 GMT

On 14 Nov 1997 18:13:58 GMT, dxk10@po.CWRU.Edu (David Kazdan) wrote:

>As one of the anesthesiologists on this newsgroup, I feel compelled to
>comment:  The safest way to take nitrous is with oxygen and at atmospheric
>pressure.  I'll put in a plug for "when medically necessary and with an
>anesthesiologist in attendance."  I don't encourage you to do what you're

I agree and a balloon or paper bag is a much safer bet as a dispenser
as opposed to taking the pure quill right out of the can.

>There have been quite a number of deaths reported from nitrous inhalation
>from whipped cream cans.  They have been from barotrauma--inflating one's
>lungs from the can until they pop from overpressure.  The pressure even of
>that last bit in the can is high because nitrous is liquified in the can.

The pressure may be high and I don't want to argue with such an
educated individual but liquified nitrous oxide in a whipped cream

Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide are isoteric (molecules with the same
number of atoms and the same total number of electrons) and would be
expected to have similar physical properties (in fact the physical
constants are very similar).

Nitrous oxide melts at about minus 91 C and boils at about minus 88.5.
The critical temperature for N2O is 35.4 degrees centigrade (~96 F)
and the pressure at the critical point is 75 atmospheres. Now that
comes to over 1000 psi at the critical temperature which is not an
unreasonable temperature to have in a kitchen.

The critical temperature for CO2 is ~32 C and the pressure is 77
atmospheres. My experience with both gases is that when you run the
pressure up to 1000+ psi you use heavy walled steel cylinders.

My gut feeling is that at over 1000 psi one of those thin walled cans
would open up rather suddenly and coat the entire kitchen as well as
the occupants with whipped cream. Taking one of those cans at that
pressure off the shelf would be like getting one of your corked
bottles of home brew out of the basement. You keep it wrapped in a rug
until you release the pressure.

My research professor (GF Smith) and one of his graduate students were
studying the storage of milk under CO2 when one of the cans with a
small leak had foaming milk coming out. Charlie (Goetz) said "wouldn't
it be nice if you could do that with cream and get whipped cream?"

Well they tried it and it worked. Indeed you got whipped cream but
sour cream. The search started for a different gas and nitrous oxide
was finally tried (reluctantly). My recollection is that one of them
suggested it and the other said "are you crazy we'll put everyone to
sleep". Charlie got 20% of the Instant Whip Company and both received
a handsome income from the venture. Every time some whipped cream was
squirted on an ice cream sundae a few pennies went into their pockets.

Later on the retail market was entered but not by Instant Whip. I
believe the first was Ready Whip and there were many years of legal
jousting over patent infringement. Professor Smith referred to them as
"The Gyp Whips" until his dying day.

>Apparently, as judgement is lost during the very rapid high, users continue
>to take the gas in past a safe pressure.  Death is very rapid.
>Anoxia is another problem and can occur after the breath or two is taken.
>This is less of a problem when breathing helium to make your voice squeaky
>because helium is less blood soluble than nitrous; takes several breaths
>and oxygen will be taken in more quickly in that case.

Nitrous oxide has about the same solubility as carbon dioxide.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Inhailing nitrous for fun???
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 10:19:10 -0700
Message-ID: <b8bqmc$q5r$>

"Joe Peters" <> wrote in message
> Don't get me wrong, I'm not a drugie or an adict. In fact, I've never
> even tried any type of drug at any time durring my life. My question is
> this:
> Can inhailing nitrous from a can of whip-cream harm you in any way???

Besides temporarily impairing your consciousness (and all
the bad things that can happen to you as a result, if you
suddenly need your wits) probably not.

N20 does do funny things to your B12/folate metabolism and
your homocysteines go up for a week after you've breathed
it. I suppose in theory this could encourage clotting for
that time, but nobody has succeeded in being able to prove


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