Homemade Oxygen Absorbers Part 1

If you caught my 2009 resolution page, one of my resolutions is to try canning my own food.
I have picked up 4 dozen canning jars, and have been just itching to put them to use.

But, being the middle of Janurary, there isn’t much besides ice and snow that is in season. I also don’t have a preassure canner.

Bummer, eh?

Not to be disuaded. Today I started an experiment.

I a trying to make DIY oxygen absorbers. These will allow me to can dry goods, such as things I use my new food dehydrator on. I know, I know, not really canning, but I can use my new (used) free jars! And anyway, they gotta make the things somehow, so why shouldn’t I give it a try?

So, on to the theory of operation.
Many commercial absorber packs list the active ingreadient as ‘iron oxide’. Ok, I know that stuff, my cars like to spontaniously break out with it all on their own. Rust.
I can make that.
The air is about 24% oxygen. Remove the oxygen, and you can create a partial vacum in a sealed jar.

So, I picked up some steel wool at the store. I know, steel isn’t supposed to rust, but I am guessing it’s cheap steel, so it’s designed not to rust in normal circumstances.

I put some in a jar. I want to see what it does. Well, I put some in 4 jars, and am trying to do 4 differnt things to get it to rust.

From left to right, steel wool in a jar, steel wool and 1 tablespoon of water in a jar. Steel wool and some table salt in a jar. Steel wool, table salt, and a tablespoon of water in a jar.

I am hoping I can get at least one of these to rust. I put all 4 jars on my radiator to warm everything up and speed up the reactions.

If none of these work very well, I think I may try heating the steel wool. I may try cooking it under the broiler at a very hot temp, hitting it with a propane torch. I would then try each of the 4 jars to see what works the best.

Once I get something to work well, I will then play with quanties of each part to see what ratios work the best for me.

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4 Replies to “Homemade Oxygen Absorbers Part 1”

  1. Lots of excellent reading here, thank you! I was researching on yahoo when I found your article, I’m going to add your feed to Google Reader, I look forward to additional from you.

  2. FYI – you aren’t going to get a vacuum with this experiment. Any O2 that is consumed in the reaction will also produce Hydrogen gas.

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