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.
Step 1: 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)
5. A small magnet
6. A small square of plastic wrap
Step 2: 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
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
Now cut open the hand warmer.
Step 5: Step Four: Pour Warmer Contents Out
Pour the contents out onto one sheet of paper.
Step 6: Step Five: Extract the Powder
Take your magnet and wave it over the powder on the first sheet of paper. It should draw up some of the iron. Move the magnet over to the other paper and carefully remove it from the plastic wrap without letting the powder stick to the magnet. This will cause the powder to fall onto the paper. Repeat until you have the desired amount of powder.
Step 7: Step Six: Store the Powder
Take the sheet of paper with the collected powder on it and fold it so you can pour it into your container.
Step 8: Finished!
Clean up your supplies. Throw out the packaging and plastic wrap.
Have fun with your iron. However, remember that it isn't good to breathe it, and if you don't bottle it up somewhere where it won't have much air, it will rust over time, although hopefully not as quickly as when it was in the hand warmer. Remember also that this powder is not necessarily pure, as it still contains ingredients from the pouch (although hopefully these were separated from the powder when it was magnetized).