10 May 2009

What's cookin' in my oven?

If you carry out most of your scientific research in your home like I do, then you too may be taking over and using the stove and the refrigerator in your kitchen from time to time for purposes not even closely related to the preparation or storage of food.

I use the kitchen oven occasionally to regenerate Drierite. Drierite, a trademark of W. A. Hammond Drierite Co., is an excellent all purpose, and cheap, drying agent made from calcium sulfate. Indicating Drierite contains cobalt chloride, which turns blue when it is dry and pink when it is wet, thus letting the user know that it is time to replace the Drierite. Here is some Drierite that turned pink because I was using it to dehydrate some slugs as part of an experiment (relax, the slugs are okay).


And here is the same stuff after an hour at about 200 °C (~400 °F) in the kitchen oven.


Now it is ready to once again suck the water out of more hapless slugs. It's all in the name of science.


xoggoth said...

The slugs are ok? Bah, I was really looking forward to calling you barbaric.

Bruce Berman said...

I used to have a postcard from cape cod with an illustration made out of some kind of ink that included this stuff that predicted the weather.

Blue for sunny and dry, pink for cloudy or wet.

Thanks for sparking that memory.