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Author: Subject: High temp reactions

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[*] posted on 8-4-2016 at 12:55
High temp reactions

For high temperature reactions that can't use glass, I know that it's common to create a heating mantle with something like a steel can and a heating tape. At least, that's probably the safest way. I'm wondering though if a bunsen burner could be safely used on the bottom of a steel can without oxidizing it, breaking it, and spilling the reagents everywhere?

The melting point of steel is something like 1300C, but a bunsen burner flame, when concentrated into the blue, short flame, could cause a lot of heat tension on a single point on the can. Also time is a factor. If the reaction time is short then I'm not worried but if the reagents need prolonged heat then could the can withstand this?

Anyway, my concern is about safety and just general nuisance. It would suck if I setup an experiment in this way only to have the bottom of the can burst open.
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 8-4-2016 at 13:31

From my experience, a charcoal fire fed by an air blower will cause a soup can or paint can to fall apart in minutes. The weak part is the seam at the base. A small stainless steel pot works better as a crucible. (This may not apply to a bunsen burner, though.)

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Forum Drunkard

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[*] posted on 8-4-2016 at 13:31

Depends on the thickness of the can material, also on what you're putting in it.

I had 4mm of steel develop a big hole when melting copper (~1085 C)

Common steels melt around 1400 to 1500 C, which is pretty hot, so it is highly unlikely that you'll melt a hole in anything upwards of 0.25mm thickness of steel with a bunsen burner.

'Tin' cans are a lot thinner than that, so maybe.

The gas you use would also make a big difference (e.g. butane versus propane).
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