Synthesis of nitrous oxide (laughing gas)

Preparation of nitrous oxide

Preparation of nitrous oxide from ammonium nitrate

Ammonium nitrate on heating is decomposed quantitatively into nitrous oxide and water. The salt is somewhat hygroscopic, and hence it is advisable to dry it thoroughly by heating in an air-bath to 100-120° C.

Preparation of nitrous oxide from ammonium nitrate

Preparation of nitrous oxide from ammonium nitrate

10 g of the powdered salt are heated in a 100 ml Erlenmeyer flask fitted with a cork and a wide delivery-tube. On heating, the salt first melts and then decomposes, liberating nitrous oxide. As the liberation of the gas is likely to be somewhat violent, a wide delivery-tube is advisable. In heating, care should be taken to heat no more than is necessary to secure a regular flow of the gas. If the melted salt froths, or the gas evolution is too great, the heating source should be removed or reduced. The explosive nature of the salt requires some care in its use, though if the previously dried salt is used, and the flame is turned very low. The heating should be stopped before all the material is decomposed. Owing to the solubility of nitrous oxide in cold water, if cold solution containing nitrous oxide is warmed to a temperature of between 30° and 40° C the gas is liberated.

Chemical lecture experiments, by F. G. Benedict, 208-209, 1916.

Preparation of nitrous oxide by reacting tin (II) chloride with the mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid

A mixture of 5 g of stannous chloride (tin(II) chloride), 10 g of hydrochloric acid (d=1.21 g/ml), and 0.9 g of nitric acid (d=1.38 g/ml), are heated to boiling, when the evolution of nitrous oxide commences, and continues to be evolved quite regularly and in a pure state. The above proportions of ingredients should be adhered to, as otherwise the gas is evolved irregularly, and even with violent explosions.

Laboratory manual of inorganic preparations, by H. T. Vulte, 20, 1895


nitrous oxide



InChI Key


Canonical SMILES


MeSH Synonyms

Gas, Laughing, Laughing Gas, Nitrogen Protoxide, Nitrous Oxide, Oxide, Nitrous

Depositor-Supplied Synonyms

nitrous oxide, Laughing gas, Dinitrogen monoxide, Dinitrogen oxide, Nitrogen oxide (N2O), Factitious air, Hyponitrous acid anhydride, Nitrogen hypoxide, protoxyde d’azote, Stickdioxyd [German], Stickdioxyd, Lachgas, gaz hilarant, oxyde nitreux, 10024-97-2, Oxido nitroso, Oxido nitroso [Spanish], Nitrous oxide, compressed, Diazyne 1-oxide, Distickstoffmonoxid, Protoxyde d’azote [French], Stickstoff(I)-oxid, FEMA No. 2779, CCRIS 1225, HSDB 504, nitrogenium oxydulatum, Nitrous oxide (TN), CHEBI:17045, Nitrous oxide [JAN], oxidodinitrogen(N–N), Nitrous oxide, refrigerated liquid, AC1L1ADZ, EINECS 233-032-0, UN1070, UN2201, N2O, Nitrous oxide [Anaesthetics, volatile], UNII-K50XQU1029, 295590_ALDRICH, CHEMBL1234579, 00583_FLUKA, GQPLMRYTRLFLPF-UHFFFAOYSA-N, LS-7622, Nitrous oxide [UN1070] [Nonflammable gas], Nitrous oxide [UN1070] [Nonflammable gas], C00887, D00102, Nitrous oxide, refrigerated liquid [UN2201] [Nonflammable gas], Nitrous oxide, refrigerated liquid [UN2201] [Nonflammable gas], Oxide, Nitrous, Gas, Laughing, 126386-65-0, 129451-49-6, 130835-71-1, 147527-07-9, 175876-44-5, 794457-85-5, 847968-13-2, 850203-00-8, sweet air, CID948, NITRAL, Diazyne 1-oxide #, NITROUS-OXIDE, oxodiazen-2-ium-1-ide, D009609, Nitrous oxide (JP15/USP), Nitrous oxide (JP16/USP), CTK5I1468, CTK5I1600, K50XQU1029, DAP001499, DPR000039, R-744A, AKOS015903682, UN 1070, UN 2201, AN-19526, E942, I14-17586

Removed Synonyms

Nitrogen oxide, nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen protoxide, Dx-890, c0650, NIX, NNO

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