Platinum Catalyst material for Hand Warmer rebuilding
In the past year, many users have noticed that the hand warmers that are being shipped from China have a different catalyst material than previous seasons.
I wrote about this on the previous handwarmer page, but since deciding that platinum catalyst deserves a page of it's own, I'll repeat it here:
I noticed that the quality of the material looked rather sketchy. When I looked into it, I learned that a quality platinum catalyst material should contain 1% platinum. But, you can get other transition metal catalysts to use in building a hand warmer head such as iron ($59.00/Ton), vanadium($.02/g), nickel ($.01/g), and palladium ($24.05/g) that are cheaper than platinum at $29.27/g*. So we've send some Chinese catalyst material off to the lab for testing, and will post the results here when they come in. The problem with those is multi factorial. They do not live as long on the substrate material, and the core temperature of 1200 that the platinum can achieve is not realized. (What do you think is in the Chinese catalyst material?)
When we placed some of the new catalyst material into a hand warmer head, and used about 3x as much as was previously packed into the head, it was too hot to touch unless oxygen restricted in a carry pouch. So it would seem, real platinum catalyst does make a difference, and you can fine tune your head to meet your individual needs (see more on this in the right side sidebar ---->).
Oh.. BTW, I sometimes get asked why not the electric hand warmers? A: There are 10 million Joules in an ounce of fuel, there are 10 thousand Joules in a AA battery (that weighs .8 of an ounce).
The platinum catalyst is available in pads, or springs that are packed with the catalyst material. The one most suitable depends on the style of rebuild the user wants to do. The springs fit into all the common handwarmer heads and are convenient. If you already have springs, or want to pack double the amount of catalyst into your head than the standard amount in order to reduce the GHSV (Gas Hourly Space Velocity) of the reaction, then the pads are a good choice (you may also be able to double the spring inserts depending on your head form factor). It should be noted that making the handwarmer burn hotter does not make it less likely to be turned off by a cold shock event (such as wrappping a very cold hand into direct contact right around it), and the fuel will burn off faster. For must users the standard amount of catalyst is best, and if you need more heat, it's best to use more handwarmers. For more information on using the springs, refer to the video below (fullscreen version here).