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Want a chemical that heats up when mixed with water

December 5, 2009

Q. I am searching for a chemical (easily available) to increase temperature of water by chemical reaction but not corrosive to surface. Please anybody suggest me some solution.


... exothermic and endothermic catalytic reactions ...

December 7, 2009

A. Hi, Bimal. Your question is a bit vague because you haven't said what grade level you are in, why you want to do this, what the surface is made of that you do not want the solution to be corrosive to, or anything else. Most chemicals offer a heat of liberation when diluted with water, so there are a lot of choices.

Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) generates a lot of heat when added to water, and it is non corrosive to steel. But it is very corrosive to aluminum and it is dangerous to people. Good luck and please get back to us with more details!


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 3, 2011

Q. I am looking for something similar, perhaps you could help me.

To clarify:

I am looking for a chemical, or possibly a chemical solution, that is minimally dangerous to people (if at all), and quickly heats up to about the heat of a single candle flame for no more than 5 seconds. This will be applied to extremely small quantities of paper or cotton in a controlled environment.

Do you have any ideas that could help me?

You requested this info of Bimal, so I suppose I should post it ahead of time.
Grade Level: Completed 2 years of College.
Why am I doing this: Experimenting with heat sensitive materials and observing how they react.

I thank you for your time in reading this.

Danial Peck
- Coarsegold, California, USA

August 3, 2011

A. Hi, Danial.

Hand warmer

Sodium acetate

I don't know how it was done, but I do remember a shaving cream from Gillette that came in one of those pressurized cans, and it heated up quite well when it came out of the can for use. Releasing pressure causes cooling rather than heating, so that wasn't the explanation. I guess it had something in it that reacted with oxygen. I understand that disposable "hand warmers" contain iron powder and other ingredients which release heat upon exposure to the air. And there are also reusable sodium acetate hand warmers (put them in boiling water to re-melt the crystals).

I wasn't trying to pry into anyone's educational level, sorry :-)
-- it's just that 2nd-graders and post-docturates both identify themselves as "students", and I don't want to insult a post-doc, far better educated than me, with baby talk; but a college chemistry level response to a 2nd grader would be silly too :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 28, 2011

A. You might try calcium oxide (Quicklime) with water, this will produce an energetic exothermic reaction due to the calcium in the compound which is highly reactive with water. The reaction will form calcium hydroxide and heat as byproducts. If you mix in ratio 2 parts water to 1 part calcium oxide (Quicklime), it will raise the water temperature to boiling. Another compound which reacts with water in this manner is calcium carbide, but the byproducts are flammable acetylene gas and calcium hydroxide which is much more hazardous than the calcium oxide with water reaction. Lime is used in making corn tortillas and would seem to yield the least toxic byproducts after the initial exothermic reaction. Best of luck!

Jack Blade
Mech Engineer - Los Angeles, California

February 27, 2013

Q. Hey I'm new to all this stuff so feel free to correct anything. I am a veteran who just got home from Afghanistan last year but anyways I'm looking for a chemical that would safely mix with regular tar as in something you would cover your driveway in so that when it snows the driveway would safely heat up enough so the snow could not pile up, but is also safe with the environment. Thanks a lot.

Robert Gable
- Middlefield, Connecticut, USA

Ed. note: Welcome home, Robert, and thank you.

Endothermic / Exothermic Demo Kit

October 22, 2014

Q. Hi I'm looking for a chemical product that will self heat a cup of water to the point where it's hot like a cup of coffee and is drinkable and not harmful for humans. I've heard of lemonlime but I've also heard it can be very harmful. Thank you for any replies.

Zack Hramatulov
- Ft lauderdale Florida U.S

October 2014

A. Sorry Zack, I've never heard of this "lemonlime" chemical. Sodium acetate is not to my knowledge poisonous, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is harmless to consume mass quantities :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 26, 2014

A. That would take a very concentrated solution to get it to say 140 °F which would make it unsafe or unwise to drink. Lye or Sulfuric acid are the two most exothermic chemicals that I am aware off. Very few other chemicals generate much heat when dissolved in water.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

March 22, 2016

Q. Actually, I m a hosteler and due to unavailability of warm water 24*7 I am thinking to find some alternative so can this method of adding NaOH be used for heating bathing water?????

pia bansal
- delhi, india

March 29, 2016

Q. I want edible food chemical/preservative or whatever you name it. This is to generate the heat sensation in the food when mixed with saliva. Please tell a name of the particular subject and where to get that one?

rajesh paul
to be a startup entrepreneur - chennai, tamilnadu, india

March 2016

thumbs up signHi Rajesh. Help us help you: please tell us what you might know, if anything, about the edibility of sodium acetate, or about the previously mentioned "lemonlime" chemical to try to keep a vibrant discussion going.

Thanks and Regards,

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Chemically Heating Water to 60 °C

April 5, 2016

Q. Sir,

Need to heat water through chemicals. Only in Powder form --

1. It should be in the Water Ratio of min 1:5

2. We tried Lime -- it has heating power -- but post reacting it gives sedimentation (slug at the bottom of the beaker)

3. We cannot use Caustic flakes -- even though it passes the other requirements, it's highly corrosive.

4. Tried with calcium chloride -- it's good heat, clear solution -- but only 1:2 ( 1 - calcium with 2 parts of water ) we needed at least 5 parts of water.

Could you help us?

preethi r
- india

April 2016

A. How about a mix of your sodium hydroxide powder plus sodium bisulphate powder to a pH neutral condition?
NaOH + NaHSO4 => Na2SO4 + H20

Obviously this releases a dangerous amount of heat, and is fraught with other dangers as well, but I'm not sure what your situation is or what you are after.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 5, 2016

Q. Hi guys, my name is Surya and I am currently working a project on a solar panel for my final year of chemical engineering. So you know, I thought of using a chemical which can undergo exothermic reaction when it is exposed to sunlight. And I plan to apply it on nylon material so that I can get some heat out of it and then focusing it on panel using a lens. Help me someone?

Surya [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Chennai ,Tamil Nadu , India

October 6, 2016

Q. Excuse me. My name is Silver and I'm searching for a water heating chemical that's not dangerous to our body. It's for my project in drinkable warm bottled coffee. Please do help. I thought I could make it by using the same system as the MRE water heating bag with magnesium and all, but I'm not sure that it's safe to consume.

Silver Hartono
- Bandung, Indonesia

Wanting to heat a room

October 18, 2016

Q. I live in an apartment building, Concerned about an EMP and we lose our electricity, and with winter coming on, would like to know of a couple of cheap chemicals I can buy,and where I can get them, that would heat up a room to keep from freezing, can leave a window open if necessary! Have no chimney so can't burn wood...thought about a kerosene heater, but would need about 50 gallons of kerosene, and no space to put it here. Thank you! Any help?

Duane Williams
- Rapid City South Dakota USA

November 18, 2016

Q. I want to find a way to keep a hot gallon of water hot, perhaps through the night, to keep a bedroom warm ... Might need a couple of them if it's -20 degrees! If I can find something not too terribly expensive, would need it for the 100 people who live here!

Duane Williams [returning]
- Rapid City, South Dakota

November 2016

A. Hi Duane. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there's no such chemical. Burning 1 gallon of kerosene generates more heat than one gallon of any of those heat producing chemicals can generate. You might consider propane catalytic heaters and 20 pound propane canisters; they are small, relatively safe, and not prohibitively expensive. Although you really shouldn't store propane indoors, maybe that rule goes out the window during the apocalypse. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 18, 2016

Q. Hello, great read. Am a bricklayer and when it gets cold our mortar freezes so we don't work. Is there anything natural we could add to this ourselves that would not break down the cement and it's chemical reactions? I believe that reaction heats up but not enough to stop freezing as made with water. Thank you.

Anthony Jarman
construction - England . Hampshire

April 12, 2017

Q. My question: is there any chemical that can make normal water heat in say around 5 to 7 second duration. And it also has to be consumed by human beings; and it has to be non hazardous too.

And another question: is there also any chemical that can make normal water cooler same as above in 5 to 7 seconds. It also has too be non-hazardous to human body as it also has to be consumed by them.

Kamlesh Vorani
- mumbai,Maharashtra,India

April 17, 2017

Q. Hi all, any chemical reaction that could slowly raise the temperature of soil in a field to above 4 degrees Celsius whilst not affecting crop growth or soil pH levels? All responses appreciated.

Padraig Murphy
- Dublin, Ireland

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