By examining how flameless heaters work, we can figure out how to design a flameless heater for others. How do heaters get warm without a flame? Temperature rises when substances undergo a chemical reaction in air-activated hand warmers and flameless heaters.
Ration heaters generate heat in an electron transfer process called the oxidation-reduction reaction. Water oxidizes magnesium metal according to the following chemical reaction: Mg + 2H2O → Mg(OH)2 + H2 [+ heat (q)]
It’s essentially an adjustable outer pocket with a heating pad inside. The heating pad’s mesh contains a magnesium alloy that, when activated with either water or saline, initiates a chemical exothermic reaction that generates heat.
The heater is a simple combination of food grade iron powder and magnesium, salt and water. When water is poured onto the included heating pad, the heating element gives off enough heat to reheat the pre-cooked meal to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in about 12 minutes.
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The US Army is working on an improved version of the flameless ration heater that does not require water to heat ready-to-eat meals. “Unlike the current ration heater, the air-activated heater requires no water, a valuable commodity on the battlefield.
The chemicals in a FRH include magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe) and sodium chloride (NaCl). The reaction that takes place when water is added to an FRH is as follows. The reaction of magnesium and water is usually very slow. As a result, it only gives off heat very slowly.
Our patented self-heating technology is a simple combination of food-grade iron and magnesium powder, salt and water. When the contents of the water bag are poured over the heating pad, the food warmer will give off enough heat to warm a pre-cooked meal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in about 10 minutes.
Self-heating is a technology developed for food packaging that allows you to have hot meals without resorting to fire or other external heat sources. This active packaging uses a heat-releasing chemical reaction to heat the food it contains to very high temperatures.
To create a flameless heater, magnesium dust is mixed with salt and some iron dust in a thin, flexible cushion the size of a playing card. To activate the heater, a soldier adds some water. Within seconds, the flameless heater reaches boiling point and is simmering and steaming.
After heating, the heating bag and MRE bag are very hot. Be careful when removing the MRE bag from the pouch. Discard heater and bag after use. Do not drink the water left in the bag and do not use it in food.
At the factory, the MRE bag is filled with food, sealed and then cooked to sterilize the contents. Because an MRE pouch is flat, it takes much less time to heat the contents to the point of sterilization. This often means a better tasting product.
An air-activated heater is designed to heat the standard Meal-Ready-to-Eat (MRE) operating ration. The heater, a nanoparticle composite of zinc and carbon, is based on electrochemical oxidation. In essence, the heater behaves like millions of nano batteries shorting together to generate heat.
The FRH is a food heating appliance designed using hyper-corrosion magnesium-iron alloy. The FRH developed by BaseTech is currently included in every MRE. If the MREs are exposed to fire and the magnesium powder ignites, a Class D fire will result – which will spark and flare up when sprayed with water.
The use of wet chemical extinguishers can cause hydrogen release and an explosion. 5.2 Special hazards arising from the substance or mixture May produce toxic fumes of carbon oxides, iron oxides, hydrogen gas, magnesium oxide, sodium oxide.
The warning label on the FRH itself states that “Vapours released from the activated heater contain hydrogen, a flammable gas”. 2. As stated in the report, the FRH’s primary component, magnesium metal, is classified by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as a hazardous material due to its reactivity with water.
How long do flameless ration heaters last? Under temperature-controlled and safe storage conditions, our FRH will last up to 5 years.
MREs are great because you can absolutely eat them however you want. MREs are pre-cooked meals that are safe to eat straight from the pack – hot or cold.