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.

Posted by Picasa

Join the Conversation


  1. We use steel wool as fire starters for camping. be careful when you go to torch the stuff it should burst into flames.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux