Nangs, also known as whippets or cream chargers, have recently gained popularity as a recreational substance. These small metal canisters are filled with nitrous oxide (N2O), or laughing gas. However, there is often confusion surrounding the use of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in nangs.
What are Nangs?
Nangs are metal canisters, usually made of steel, that contain nitrous oxide gas. Nowadays larger nang tanks are becoming more popular. They are typically used to charge whipped cream dispensers, hence the alternative names “whippets” or “cream chargers.” Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas with a slightly sweet odour and taste. In the culinary world, it is used as a propellant to create whipped cream and in the production of foams and espumas.
How do Nangs work?
When whipping cream, the nitrous oxide gas inside is released into a whipped cream dispenser with cream in it under pressure. Then when the mix of nitrous oxide gas and cream is released from the dispenser, the gas bubbles expand as the pressure decreases and the cream is ‘whipped’. If using nitrous oxide as a flavour-infusing agent, such as in cocktails, then it acts as a solvent that extracts the flavours from foods and then leaves the flavours in the alcohol. This can also be done without nitrous oxide but nitrous oxide speeds up the process from weeks to minutes.
The Importance of CO2 in Nangs
Contrary to popular belief, CO2 is not used in nangs. Nangs are filled with nitrous oxide, not carbon dioxide. The confusion might arise because carbon dioxide is sometimes used in carbonated beverages. CO2 bulbs are used for making fizzy drinks and look the same as N2O bulbs but it is not nangs.