The Bureau of Mines investigated nitrous oxide (n2o) stability when used as a solvent for organic removal from metal powder surfaces. Both supercritical and subcritical conditions were studied. This investigation was prompted by the occurrence of a violent reaction when supercritical n2o was being used to deoil a metal powder grinding waste sample that contained 20 to 25 wt pct cutting oil. Tests were conducted to determine the cause of the reaction and to define stability limits. Test data showed that the waste's oil fraction reacted violently with n2o acting as an oxidizer; the metal powder acted as a promoter to reduce the ignition temperature. Although the data were scattered, this temperature appeared to reach a minimum at a certain pressure (dependent on vessel and sample size). The minimum ignition temperature for a 0.64-G sample in a 72- cm3 vessel was 360 deg. C at 200 psig. As the sample size increased, the ignition temperature decreased. For example, when the sample size was increased to 10 g, a reaction occurred at 240 deg. C and 600 psig. Because of the variability of ignition temperature with pressure and sample size, safe operating conditions were not established. Overall, this research showed that extreme caution should be exercised when using n2o in an organic or organic- metal system.