My Zippo hand warmer requires lighter fluid, platinum catalytic burner, and a heat source to start the flameless catalytic process. What is the platinum doing in this reaction?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Well, it is catalyzing the reaction. The surface chemistry of platinum allows the oxidation to occur there, not requiring a ‘stand alone’ flame. Quite common for propane heaters. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Mar 19 '19 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ It's actually amazing how this works. Must be finely tuned equillibrium between conductive heat loss through the housing, cooling by inflowing air of variable oxygen content, and the actual reaction. $\endgroup$ – Karl Mar 19 '19 at 23:07

Platinum is a catalyst and decreases the activation energy, so the process can start at lower temperatures.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you can add a little more to this answer to explain why the catalyst is necessary in this particular case, and roughly what reaction it is catalyzing. Right now your answer was probably down voted because it's just too short and vague to be a good Stack Exchange question. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 2 '19 at 2:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.