How to Add Oxygen to Gasby Richard Rowe
Engines make power by burning fuel in the presence of oxygen; the more fuel the engine can burn, the more power it will make. Oxygen is the limiting reactant in almost every engine on the planet, meaning that there will always be more fuel available to burn than oxygen to burn it. A number of monopropellants (including nitromethane and hydrazine) contain oxygen to assist in combustion, these fuels can be very difficult to meter and may require extensive engine modifications to use. However, one little-known oxidizer often used by cheating racers can boost power output without the dangers inherent to more powerful monopropellants.
Buy several gallons of propylene oxide (aka epoxypropane), which is a volatile organic compound derived from propylene. As indicated by its molecular formula C3-H6-O, this additive is very similar to propane in nature but it contains an additional oxygen atom. Propylene oxide runs around $235 per five- gallon drum (as of 2010), so expect it to add about $3 per gallon to your fuel costs when mixed in the recommended proportions.
Fill a two-gallon gas can with the highest octane gasoline available (93 in most states, 90 in California) to top of the gas can's indicator line. Use your measuring cup to collect 20.5 fluid ounces of propylene oxide, then pour it into the two gallons of gasoline. This will put you right at the eight-percent propylene-to-gasoline ratio proven to provide the highest gains in performance without reaching a point of diminishing returns.
Drain your fuel tank or run it completely dry until your car stalls. Pour the two gallons of fuel into your gas tank. Mix another two-gallon/20.5-ounce mixture and pour it into your fuel tank. Continue filling the tank to the desired level. Start the car and allow it to run for five minutes. You may notice a distinct chemical odor coming from your tailpipe; this indicates that the propylene has worked its way through the system and is burning in the engine.
Things You'll Need
- Propylene oxide
- 2-gallon gas can
- 2-cup measuring cup with ounce markings
- Nitrile rubber gloves and goggles
Richard Rowe has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in automotive topics. He has worked as a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic, a rigger at a fire engine factory and as a race-car driver and builder. Rowe studied engineering, philosophy and American literature at Central Florida Community College.