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Combustion Reactions

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Iron to the Rescue

Iron to the Rescue

Credit: Ciar
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moldy_old_bread.JPG
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

No doubt you’d throw out stale bread long before it reached this state! This just shows you what can happen to food when it’s exposed to oxygen. Oxygen allows bacteria and mold grow on food. What if you could store food without oxygen? Would it last longer without spoiling?

The Back Story

  • That’s what teen inventor Carolyn Jons wondered. At the age of 15, Carolyn developed a new type of resealable bag that can keep food fresh longer. It relies on a pouch of “secret” powder that’s attached to the bag.
  • Can you guess what the “secret” powder is? Here’s a hint: It contains a metal that “loves” to react with oxygen. It “sucks” the oxygen away from the food to prevent bacteria and mold from growing on it.
  • Credit: Bryan Pocius
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocius/5792922966/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    The iron "sucks" away the oxygen to make rust [Figure2]

     

  • Before learning more about Carolyn’s invention and why it works, watch this really gross time-lapse video of food spoiling—if you dare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwTCdcs8gGg

What Do You Think?

Read about Carolyn Jon’s food storage bags at the link below. Then answer the questions that follow.

  1. Describe Carolyn Jon’s food storage bags. What is the “secret” powder?
  2. How does the secret powder remove oxygen from the air inside the bag? What type of chemical reaction occurs? What is a product of this reaction?
  3. Carolyn Jon collected evidence to show that her storage bags actually work. Describe some of this evidence.
  4. What do you think? How might Carolyn’s storage bags reduce food costs?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Ciar; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moldy_old_bread.JPG; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Bryan Pocius; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pocius/5792922966/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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