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Filling Nitrogen in tyres instead of Air

#11 25-Sep, 2008 04:11 PM
Bijoy
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This should answer everyone's queries:


What is Nitrogen?
Colourless, odourless, tasteless, and non-toxic, Nitrogen exists as a non-flammable gas at atmospheric temperatures and pressures. It is one of the basic elements. Normal, compressed, air consists of approximately 78% nitrogen gas, with most of the remainder being made up of oxygen.

What effect can Nitrogen have on tyres?

Under ideal conditions, Nitrogen will run cooler than normal compressed air, will exhibit slower leakage, have no oxidation, and be virtually non combustible.

In particular circumstances, pure Nitrogen is used as the inflation medium in earthmover, racing, and aviation tyres to where they are required to perform under conditions of high stress and in critical environments, generating higher than usual temperatures. Examples are:

* Where exceptionally high loads are carried by the vehicle,
* High-speed travel,
* Where high pressure must be maintained.

Also, in some instances, the tyre casing wears better, and to some extent, tyre tread wears more slowly, when Nitrogen is used in these extreme circumstances.
How can Nitrigen affect on-road tyres?

Despite the advantages in specialised tyres subject to extreme conditions, the benefits of Nitrogen inflation for tyres used primarily on ordinary roads in standard driving conditions are not at all clear.

The main arguments put forward for its use of pure Nitrogen in tyres under normal conditions are:

a) Alleged Improved Tread Wear
Unfortunately, little controlled test data exists to support or refute this claim.

Improved tread wear comes from proper tyre maintenance, for example from:

* Checking your tyre inflation pressure at least once a month, and preferably fortnightly
* Regular rotation and
* Correct wheel alignment.

Take care of these, and your tyres will ride more safely and wear better, irrespective of the choice of inflation medium.

b) Casing Durability
When the tyre heats up, moisture in the tyre vaporises and expands. In some circumstances, moisture in the compressed air in a tyre can gradually migrates through the inner lining of a tubeless tyre and into the steel-cord body plies, resulting in rust, which ultimately causes casing degradation.

This applies to truck and bus, and some light truck tyres. Passenger and most light truck tyres are not affected, as they are composed instead of textile body ply material (eg polyester, nylon, rayon, etc).

One of the main claims made by Nitrogen proponents is that compressed Nitrogen contains less moisture than compressed air, thereby reducing the incidence of this moisture migration effect.

The primary aim should be to avoid moisture migration irrespective of the mix of gas used in tyre inflation. Moisture can be introduced into the tyre as a result of poor workshop practices and incorrect or inadequate tyre fitment procedures.

To this end, we encourage proper selection of compressor equipment, air-line routing, the use of air dryers, and other sound workshop and equipment maintenance practices in order to minimise moisture introduction.

This applies both to initial tyre inflation and top-up air.

Poor tyre fitment and workshop standards can also contribute to wheel and rim corrosion. If proper practices and equipment are utilised, moisture migration is minimised. It does not matter so much whether Nitrogen or compressed air is the inflation medium.

If you fill your tyres with Nitrogen, to retain any benefit, you will need to top up with Nitrogen as well. Topping up with Compressed air will negate any benefit.

When you first fill up your tyres, they already have air in them, so they really should be filled then evacuated, then filled again to remove the residual atmospheric air.

c) Susceptibility to Tyre Fires
Ever since the introduction of<

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#12 25-Sep, 2008 05:41 PM
Binoy
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Bijoy nice article-but give reference to the original from were it is taken-otherwise it leads to copyright violation.

For all practical purposes filling nitrogen does not make sense for a normal road user-neither does the economics make any better.


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#13 25-Sep, 2008 06:14 PM
Prabal Khanna
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After reading this article another question arsises. Focusing on the following line:

Nitrogen will run cooler than normal compressed air"

 

The reason why we have warm up laps in F1 races is that it is a proven fact that the temperature of the tyre for racing cars is raised for better grip on the road. If the tyres run on Nitrogen which would cool the tyre quickly, it would thus decrease the grip of the tyre. As temp is directly proportional to the grip of the tyre.

 

This brings us to an irony that if the usage of nitrogen would actually benefit with respect to the grip of the tyre.

 

For an expaination to this irony, I could think of the following reason :

The racing cars move around so fast that the temperature of their tyres would increase temendously, thus it would help to use nitrogen and eventually get to the ideal temp for the best grip. Agreed.

 

But this is not the case for the city cars, in my opinion we would prefer the temperature of the tyre to increase as we would have better grip when tyres are warm. Also our tyres are not going to get so warm that we would require nitrogen. Thus we can come to a conclusion that using nitrogen in city cars would actually decease the grip a tyre would provide.

 

What do you think ppl?

 

I hope I am able to put forward my opinion in understandable language.



Last Updated: 25-Sep, 2008 06:16 PM, by prabalkhanna
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#14 25-Sep, 2008 08:07 PM
Binoy
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Prabal nice write up and line of thought!!

Sad to say that there is NO 'irony' and that your concept of formula 1 tyre tech is totally misplaced.

Formula 1 tyres-Are filled with Nitrogen!!

Thats the reason they have to be warmed up(and not the other way round).

Another issue is temperature of the 'air' inside the tyre and that 'of the tyre compound itself'-this is different.

Now this is not a personal opinion-here is the link providing info on the same at the Official Formula 1 site

and their technical pages


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#15 26-Sep, 2008 10:38 AM
Prabal Khanna
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I agree that the F1 race car tyres are filled with Nitrogen, but still I couldn't relate to the answer that you gave. Maybe I was not able put forward my thought clearly, I will give it another shot and this time I will use bullet points of my understanding. I will be happy to know where I have misunderstood any concept, please correct me.

 

- Nitrogen Filled tyres decrease the opreating temperature of the tyres, and increases their life. Using nitrogen lowers the temperature of the tyre.

- A dry-weather racing tyre in Formula One generally operates at an optimal temperature of around 100° C. Thats why they have warm up laps. Also they use tyre heaters. All this to increase the grip which the tyre provides at the optimal temperatures.

- Now using nitrogen decreases the temperature, thus it would lower the tyre grip as well.

- Irony being: Why do they use nitrogen to cool it down when the have warmup laps and heaters to increase temperatures?

- A MAY BE explaination to the irony: What I could personally think of: The F1 cars move so fast that they increase the tyre temperatures tremendously, thus ruining the tyre perfirmance and creating an imbalance between the grip and wearing out of the tyre (due to the heat). So they must require nitrogen. (am i correct in saying this?)

- Now leave the F1 world, come to ours: We donot have warmup laps, nor tyre heaters, nor do we move around very fast during our city drive. Thus our tyre temperatures SHOULD not increase so tremendously.

- If we use nitrogen to fill our tyres, it would help decrease the temperature which is already not very high.

- As a result of which we would get lower grip.

 

Now my point is if Nitrogen eventually leads to lower tyre grip, why should we use it?



Last Updated: 26-Sep, 2008 10:38 AM, by prabalkhanna
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#16 26-Sep, 2008 04:20 PM
Binoy
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Prabal the use of Nitrogen in F1 tyres is not to decrease temperature.

I guess temperature is the core issue discussed here(but not the core issue in terms of grip).

Nitrogen is used to prevent the chance of water vapor formation when normal air is filled. Tyre temperature is the temperature of the tyre compound and not the air inside the tyre.

Now gases are filled inside the tyre because of regulations and not for anything else.If anything was possible then all the teams will use just full solid tyres.

Tyre grip depends more on the tyre compound material/suspension settings  like toe and camber setting and also the road surface and then the temperature, and not in the reverse order.

There is no question of nitrogen cooling the tyre down-only that the rise in temp(which happens in any tyre) is to a lesser degree.

Comparing formula one tyre's which last a few 100 kilometers to the road tyres on our cars which last 1000's of kilometers will not we quite prudent.

So concluding that using nitrogen in our normal tyres will lead to decreased road grip will be quite far fetched.

Also note that normal air is 78% nitrogen and full nitrogen will be 95-98%-so dont think a 20% difference will make a drastic diffference to grip if any at all for a normal road user.

Also-Formula 1 spends nearly a billion dollors on tyre tech-with a lot of testing involved-so if nitrogen actually decreased the grip-they would be the first one to remove it-What do you say?



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#17 15-Oct, 2008 08:08 AM
Pankaj Prasad
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Yesterday I have filled tyres of my car with Nitrogen for the sake of having a first-hand experience.  I went for a small drive on highway (total 40/45 kms) & have driven it in city conditions a little (10 kms).

 

I will be undertaking a 4-day trip of 1500kms during the month-end.  I will thereafter post my experience here in regard to my observations & difference/s felt, if any, on road-grip/handling/braking etc.




Honesty is not a Spare Wheel that you pull out when in trouble. It's a Steering Wheel that keeps you on the right path throughout the life's journey.
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#18 15-Oct, 2008 10:47 AM
Prabal Khanna
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I am really looking forward to your findings Pankaj.

Please take note of another thing, any driver who is passionate about his car tends to be over critical of how his/her car is behaving. As a result of which the observations can be different from what is the actual scenario. Please keep this in mind, it would help us get a more accurate account of how your car is behaving.

-Prabal


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#19 15-Oct, 2008 05:13 PM
Pankaj Prasad
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Yes, I understand.  I’m passionate but not over-passionate (at least wouldn’t like to be called so ). 

 

And even if I’m, be rest assured… I’m very impartial & unbiased and so will my observations/findings be.




Honesty is not a Spare Wheel that you pull out when in trouble. It's a Steering Wheel that keeps you on the right path throughout the life's journey.
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#20 16-Oct, 2008 08:33 AM
Pankaj Prasad
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By the way, any suggestions on other things (safe of course) that I could possibly try for the sake of acquiring first-hand experience?

 

Binoy?




Honesty is not a Spare Wheel that you pull out when in trouble. It's a Steering Wheel that keeps you on the right path throughout the life's journey.
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