RC Nitro Fuel explained

Your nitro RC car is capable of a lot of things on the RC track thanks to the wonders of nitro fuel, which delivers a lot of power and speed to your model car. The key is to achieve the perfect blend in order to get the maximum power possible. That’s why understanding your RC nitro fuel is very important.

This article will help you understand it and you’ll be able to figure out how you can care for your nitro fuel to keep it fresh. In the end, the more you care for your nitro fuel, the easier engine operations will become.

The most important thing you should know about nitro fuel is that it is actually a combination of three components: nitromethane, methanol, and oil. Nitromethane is a compound derived from propane, but it’s not extremely flammable by itself. It carries oxygen within each molecule, an important component which will handle ignition and deliver more burning in the combustion chamber. This acts as a charger and the precise amount of this component into the whole blend is how manufacturers rate the fuel. A type of blend can have as much as 60% nitromethane and as low as 5%. But, for RC truck and car application, the blend is between 10% and 40%. You should follow your manufacturer’s engine specifications in order to figure out which percent nitro to use.

The second component of nitro fuel for your RC car is methanol, which was first derived from distilled wood products. Today it is made out of natural gas. This is the most important component of RC nitro fuel and the most dominant component in the mix. Its primary advantage is the fact that it has a natural cooling ability, which is able to cool down the air and fuel mix which enters the mix. If it is cooler when it enters the engine, the air in the mix is more dense, which equals more oxygen and more burning potential to the RC nitro fuel. It evaporates easy and helps with the lowering of RC nitro engine operating temperatures.

The third component of nitro fuel is oil, which can be a bit confusing for RC drivers. The oil blend can be made out of castor oil, synthetic oil or a combination of the two. The oil content of your RC nitro fuel can be checked easily through evaporation. Most RC nitro fuels use a combination of castor and synthetic oil. Castor oil at high temperatures starts to break down and its chemical properties change, as the lubricant properties increase in order to form a lubricating film at high temperatures. The synthetic oil within the oil blend is good because of it a good lubricant at lower temperatures and high RPMs. The oil blend proportion within the whole nitro fuel can be anywhere between 10 and 18 percent.

Besides these all-important components, the nitro fuel can contain some additives in small amounts, which can be unique to each brand. Some of them are anti-corrosion agents, degumming agents or anti-foam agents.

How do you choose the best nitro fuel for your RC car? You need to take into consideration some important facts. First of all, you need to know that increasing the nitromethane proportion within the nitro fuel won’t guarantee better performance. A very high percentage of nitromethane can cause pre-detonation or abnormal combustion. If you experience this, you should shim your head button.

Now that you know the intricacies of RC nitro fuel, you should know how to keep it so it won’t go bad. The methanol within the nitro fuel attracts moisture, which can cause your fuel blend to become contaminated with water. This causes poor engine performance. Also, the sun’s rays will blend the methane within the nitro fuel, so don’t store it into the sunlight. You can tell when the engine has gone bad if it is not able to start the engine or it has very poor idle. You should store your fuel in a metal can and never leave it uncovered. Also, squeeze the air within the can off as the fuel level lowers within the can. Remember to keep the fuel can out if direct sunlight and keep it in a place with constant temperatures.


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