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Oxygen free oven?

  1. Apr 22, 2010 #1
    Say for instance you created an oxygen free oven, by flowing a gas other than oxygen through it and then heating up that gas. What would happen to things placed inside the oven? Objects won't be able to burn or oxidise because of the lack of oxygen, but what would happen to them?

    Will objects just get superheated beyond their auto ignition point? Does doing something like this have a real world application?

    What would happen to normally combustible materials such as gasoline or paper in such an oven and how would it affect the chemical bonds in these substances?

    This question just popped into my head purely out of curiosity.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2010 #2


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    This is routinely done for material processing in a vast range of applications. Often things need to be heated in a vacuum oven for instance, or perhaps under flowing nitrogen. Your analysis of the reasons why is basically correct ... you want to replace/remove the reactive gases (mostly O2 and water), so that the chemical processes of oxidation/combustion/etc. cannot occur, or do so a a greatly reduced rate. Alternatively, you may want to add a different reactive gas, for example hydrogen, to carry out a specific chemical process (e.g. reduction of a metal oxide surface to metal hydroxide) in a controlled environment at elevated temperature.

  4. Apr 22, 2010 #3
    Interesting. I wonder if my pizza cooked in a vacuum oven would turn-out differently.
    I would assume so. Perhaps no "browning"?
  5. Apr 22, 2010 #4


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    Materials scientists are now all looking at the test furnace and thinking - hmm....
  6. Apr 22, 2010 #5
    On the B-1B empennage, we used vacuum furnaces or argon filled furnaces for heat treating titanium which oxidizes when its temperature is above 600 degrees F. When welding titanium 6Al-4V we did it in a glove box which was filled with Argon. Argon filled chambers are also used for Superplastic Forming and Diffusion Bonding of titanium.
  7. Apr 22, 2010 #6
    Well, would it even brown/cook it then? Or just get it super hot?
    Cause wouldn't the food become uncooked again once you took it out? Or at least be NOT cooked? :confused:
  8. Apr 22, 2010 #7


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    It would cook - cooking is mostly a matter of heat denaturing proteins.

    Browning is trickier, most browning is burning (ie combined with oxygen) my guess is that cheese would just melt and eventually turn to powder as the moisture evaporates - but wouldn't turn brown.
  9. Apr 23, 2010 #8
    I was going to bring up , that you can cook an egg by cracking it an then dropping into alcohol , the alcohol denatures the proteins in the egg and it will turn it opaque just like cooking it on a pan.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  10. Apr 23, 2010 #9
    That's awesome. I'm gonna do that.
    Well, I think that someone should do this. Make it a real oven, for beginner cooks, so they don't burn their food.
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