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I am now constructing a RC plane. I would like to fill the tires of the landing gear with nitrogen to avoid combustion of oxygen during landing. I would therefore like to obtain a small amount of nitrogen using (only) home-made utilities. How can it be done?

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    $\begingroup$ You can buy argon or nitrogen in a gas cylinder. It isn't prohibitively costly. However if you only need a gas not supporting oxidation, there is a lot easier way: mix backing soda with vinegard and pass the product through a filter to stop water drops. The reasulting gas is safe for anything short of active metals. $\endgroup$ – permeakra Aug 24 '15 at 13:12
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Crude process, but does the trick: You can use a combustion/oxygen consuming process, like a candle, to burn the excess oxygen. Eventually the candle will be too oxygen starved to sustain a flame, so some residual oxygen would be left (although this would already mean there is no fear of combustion of said tyres). Now to remove the remaining oxygen you'd use something like iron files (since you wanted to use only "household" stuff). Together with some humidity in that air, they will rust rapidly and should drive down the oxygen contents towards negligible. So now we have:

  • a small trace remainder of oxygen,
  • the equivalent of $\ce{CO2}$ from the combustion process,
  • some impurities from the candle wax probably,
  • trace gases such as helium etc. and ... mostly
  • nitrogen.

This already is not sustaining any combustion. But if you're a purist or want to use $\ce{N2}$ because it is lighter than $\ce{CO2}$, to remove the $\ce{CO2}$ you could use something like "roasted limestone", i.e. the stuff from you water kettle, which you heat so that you get lime, which then binds with the $\ce{CO2}$ to revert to limestone $\ce{CaCO3}$. Now you have something, I'd assume, like 98% nitrogen and surely to few traces of $\ce{O2}$ to cause any harm to your equipment. Of course, I'd buy bottled $\ce{N2}$, but for the sake of using household implements only, this might do the trick.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Chemistry.SE! Take the tour to get familiar with this site. Mathematical expressions and equations can be formatted using $\LaTeX$ syntax. I have updated your post with chemistry markup. If you want to know more, please also have a look here. Please do not use markup in the title field, see here for details. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Aug 24 '15 at 12:23

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