Q:

How do hand warmers work?

A:

Quick Answer

Both air-activated hand warmers and supersaturated solution hand warmers work by producing an exothermic reaction. Both types work best when kept covered rather than exposed to the cold.

Know More
How do hand warmers work?
Credit: AE Pictures Inc. Taxi Getty Images

Full Answer

Air-activated hand warmers contain iron, vermiculite, carbon, salt and cellulose. When air hits the iron, the process of oxidation begins, with the creation of rust releasing heat. The other chemicals help disperse the heat evenly. Air-activated hand warmers are safe for use on airplanes and are typically disposable. Supersaturated solution hand warmers contain water, salt and a metal disc. When the user snaps the disc, the crystals of the metal precipitate, creating warmth. Supersaturated solution hand warmers are reusable if they are boiled and allowed to cool.

Learn more about Chemistry
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of a stirring rod?

    A:

    The primary function of a stirring rod is to stir solutions by hand. Stirring rods have other uses in the laboratory, however, including helping to decant liquid from containers, breaking up emulsions and inducing crystallization.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do gel hand warmers work?

    A:

    Gel hand warmers work by storing sodium acetate in a liquid state, and then allowing it to rapidly crystallize. Because sodium acetate has a freezing point of 130 degrees Fahrenheit, it rapidly increases to this temperature when it crystallizes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does a candle work?

    A:

    A candle consists of a fuel source, typically some sort of wax, and an absorbent twine that serves as a wick. Once the wick is lit using a heat source, the wax vaporizes and mixes with oxygen to form a constant flame that emits heat and light.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does ethanol work?

    A:

    Ethanol is a grain alcohol and can be used in the same way as gasoline. Most gas stations in the United States use a combination of about 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore