I don't post often unless I have a real need to correct bad information- now is certainly a time I am compelled to set straight some erroneous internet information. The link above will take you to a corporate web site that will sell you a product. Nitrogen is a beneficial gas but there are significant mis-statements on the webpage.
First, I am not flaming anyone, any product, or any company. I am attempting to correct errors in my area of expertise only. I actually use nitrogen when available.
Fact: Air is a mixture of mostly Nitrogen. About 79%. Oxygen accounts for about 21%. There is a trace of other gases. There is moisture in the mixture. Both Oxygen (O2) and Nitrogen (N2) are diatomic. That is, they exist in your tires as a molecule of 2 atoms of N or 2 atoms of O. As you compress air, all the components increase in concentration proportionally. All that means is there is always 79% N2 and 21% O2 and some moisture. Compressing moist air will condense the water vapor and you will get water in the tire. Thats the best and frankly, only reason to invest in this system for home, personal use. I have a water separating filter on my compressor at home. It cost me $40.
So for fleets, there is a significant advantage for the capital outlay. For me and you? At any rate, here are the falsehoods:
Nitrogen is smaller than oxygen, sitting to the left of oxygen on the periodic table of elements. Permeable material, like...tires, are permeable to all gasses
. The leakage is at the Rim-Tire joint, the valve hole, the valve, and through the rubber at a virtually unmeasurable rate. But yes, rubber is permeable. BUT nitrogen will permeate faster by virtue of being a smaller molecule. As nitrogen moves through the rubber it reacts with the rubber. The reaction is pretty much the opposite of the damaging effect of the oxygen reaction. Nitrogen changes the organic rubber molecule into a pliable waxy nice material. Oxygen dries is out, not really changing anything, but cracks develop. Its not like the wind blowing through the screen on an open window. Rubber absorbs gas on one wall, and respires the gas to the atmosphere on the outside after millions of tiny reactions.
Oxygen is not corrosive. In this system (the Tire), Water
is the reactant. Water corrodes the rims and attacks the materials in the presence of oxygen. The website was correct stating Nitrogen is far less reactant. But reactant never the less. Especially on alloys containing copper. Lower concentrations of Oxygen correlates with less corrosion. Air quality is your best friend. Make your air dry.
Copper? Good qustion. Do you have all rubber or all Stainless valve stems? Not unless you installed them yourself. Nearly all valve stems are rubber coated brass- a copper alloy. Recall rubber is permeable. There's why you should replace valve stems during the tires life.
A recent article from the Wall Street Journal states: “One thing government and tire-industry officials agree on is the
importance of keeping tires properly inflated. The risks of
underinflation, which stresses tires by causing their sidewalls to flex more and the air temperature inside to rise, were highlighted during congressional hearings two years ago into the Firestone tire problems. Underinflation was identified as a factor in the failure of Firestone tires
Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2002
I actually remember reading that article years ago. Funny thing is it was about using nitrogen to fill tires. I recall the paragraph right before this one questioned the cost for a consumer to switch to nitrogen. While agreeing nitrogen is beneficial, the cost savings where optimal when the consumer maintained proper inflation
whether using nitrogen systems or air. I resent the website claiming the nitrogen is the reason your tread lasts longer, tires wear evenly, and temperature run lower. Those are attributes of proper inflation and driving habits.
On one funny note, I hope no one reading this is pulling a trailer fast enough to ignite them.