Instructables

Collecting Iron Powder From Hand Warmers

I'm an element collector, and I wanted a sample of iron. Turns out that iron powder is a critical ingredient in some chemical hand warmers, and I had one left over from a recent road trip. So whether you're trying to collect a sample of iron for a collection or just want some fairly pure iron powder to play with (careful there, I think it's harmful to breath), this tutorial is for you. So let's get started.

Disclaimer: I'm not responsible if this happens to be dangerous or you get hurt. I did it at my own risk, and so will you.
 
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Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need
This process is pretty simple, so you'll only need a few supplies:

1. Two sheets of paper
2. A hand warmer that contains iron powder (I used HotHands® hand warmers)
3. A container to hold the powder in once you're done (I used a small glass vial)
4. Scissors
5. A small magnet
6. A small square of plastic wrap

Step 2: Step One: Prepare The Magnet

Picture of Step One: Prepare The Magnet
Take the small piece of plastic wrap and wrap it around the disk magnet. This will prevent the magnetic iron powder from sticking to the magnet itself.

Step 3: Step Two: Cut Open The Hand Warmer

Picture of Step Two: Cut Open The Hand Warmer
Make sure you have your other supplies handy when you do this, because you'll need to act quickly as the iron will begin to rust (which is what creates the heat) as soon as you cut the pouch open, exposing it to air. Do not cut open the hand warmer yet.

Step 4: Step Three: Cut Open The Hand Warmer

Picture of Step Three: Cut Open The Hand Warmer
Now cut open the hand warmer.

Step 5: Step Four: Pour Warmer Contents Out

Picture of Step Four: Pour Warmer Contents Out
Pour the contents out onto one sheet of paper.
That's crazy! I never knew what was in those things.
Dubnium (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago
Not all hand warmers contain iron powder, but the ones I had did. You gotta check the ingredient list- there's quite a few methods used to heat a hand warmer.
Cool! Didn't know that either :)
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