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Using stored electricity to heat up canned foods before consuming them

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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Aug 12, 2021
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Canned foods usually have to be removed from their cans and put in different containers before they can be safely heated in a microwave whenever the user wants them served warm. We suggest storing energy along with canned foods so that the food can be heated when the canned food is opened. We try to achieve this by storing electricity in capacitors. The capacitor will be discharged to produce heat when the food is ready for consumption.

Canned foods and foods that are sold in sachets can have the option of coming with heating elements to generate heat whenever they are opened. The heating elements can also come in small, disposable packs or be sold as a rechargeable capacitive heater. The rechargeable heater stores heat for you and can be used to warm your foods by stirring your food while the heater is running. The use of batteries will be preferred if the heater is rechargeable. The use of capacitors is preferred over the use of batteries in the case of single-use elements that will come with every can or sachet of packaged foods. The reason for this preference is that capacitors are easier and cheaper to produce in large amounts. The resulting waste would also be less friendly to the environment if batteries where used to manufacutre the single use heating systems.
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Creative contributions

Metal-activated heating pads for heating canned food

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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia Aug 12, 2021
I believe this idea has some merit but should be directed to a system that automatically heats up your food before you open the can, or when you open it. I envision it as a lever or part you can push, and when you push it it activates a small heating pad that heats the food from inside the can. This is based on the coin-activated heating pads that most of us have probably seen. They are small pads that contain a "coin" or metal piece that can be folded or "clicked", causing it to heat up. This phenomenon uses a supersaturated solution of sodium acetate. Clicking the metal disc releases a small number of crystals of sodium acetate which act as nucleation sites for the crystallization of the sodium acetate into a hydrated salt. Energy is released from the crystal lattice. The heating pack can be placed in boiling water and the sodium acetate can be dissolved again .

I believe this system could be adapted to be part of the inside of the can. Obviously it would have to be in a way in which it cannot be damaged and contaminate the food, so I wonder if there are any non-toxic alternatives. Sodium acetate is definitely not good for the digestive tract but maybe other, non-toxic options already exist. Otherwise the heating pad should be well isolated from the food but still able to transmit enough heat.

Can we find a good alternative? Can we also come up with a design on how to activate the pad before opening the can? Or is it better to do it in a way that opening the can activates the heating? That may cause more energy waste.

[1]https://thewonderofscience.com/phenomenon/2018/7/8/reusable-heat-packs

[2]http://dept.harpercollege.edu/chemistry/msds/Sodium%20acetate%20anhydrous%20ScienceLab.pdf

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Dragan Otasevic
Dragan Otasevic3 months ago
This seems like an overengineered solution to a problem that has already been solved in easier ways. Even heating the cans over open fire would be less damaging to the environment than manufacturing signle use heating elements.

That said, all sorts of electric heaters already exist. Including battery operated food warmers https://www.madeusafdn.org/battery-operated-food-warmer

I'm guessing here, but by our current technology, a heating stirring rod made of capacitors might not have enough capacity to warm the food. It would discharge too fast.
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Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello3 months ago
Dragan Otasevic Well, one can not always make an open fire, can they?

The point of the idea is to make the consumer more convenient. Since the heat comes with the food, consumers do not have to do much to control the temperature. The solution may be overengineering but I do not know of any existing solutions that warm your food when or before you open them. If you know a simpler solution that is as convenient as the proposed one, I would love to learn it 👍
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