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Heated Salt Cellar

grind salt and pour out through heated holes
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I have a salt cellar that operates by grinding the larger crystals as you rotate the upper part of the device. Seldom does a reliable stream of salt emerge, as the holes inevitably become clogged with deposited clusters of damp salt.

Being hygroscopic, the salt cannot resist absorbing dampness from the surroundings. The solution is therefore to provide a small heating element in the device that delivers the tiny amount of energy required to ensure the holes always remain free and open orifices, allowing the salt to issue forth in an uninterrupted flow in response to the required grinding action.

xenzag, Nov 09 2018

Radioisotope thermoelectric generator https://en.wikipedi...oelectric_generator
Primitive in the extreme. But reliable... [8th of 7, Nov 12 2018]

[link]






       I'm not completely sure that the energy required would be tiny.   

       If you're looking to keep the salt perpetually warm, I'm guessing that's a watt or two of constant power. That's going to drain a manageable battery in a few hours. Alternatively, if you're looking at an on-demand heat-and- dry, you're probably looking at a few tens of watts for maybe a minute; in that case, a manageable battery will be good for a few tens of uses, which may be viable.   

       Perhaps a better alternative is to include a little sodium aluminosilicate in the salt. Sodium aluminosilicate is already present as an anti-caking agent in pre-ground table salt, so it might work with larger, grindable salt crystals.   

       A further alternative is to make the salt grinder airtight, with a sealable, removable cover on the base, to keep moisture out.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 09 2018
  

       Another (better) approach might be for the salt cellar to have a small hatch in the side where a silica gel sachet (such as is included in the packaging of new electronics) could be inserted. This would absorb moisture from the salt and swapped with a fresh silica gel sachet when necessary.
hippo, Nov 09 2018
  

       Vacuum.
8th of 7, Nov 09 2018
  

       OK - the stair carpet *is* looking a bit dirty
hippo, Nov 09 2018
  

       A common trick on boats and seaside homes is to but some dry reice in the salt shaker. (Not sure that doing the same in a grinder), The humidity goes to the rice in preference to the salt.
AusCan531, Nov 09 2018
  

       Salt with ricin ? Sounds a bit dangerous ...
8th of 7, Nov 09 2018
  

       There are rechargeable grinders available for the person who has nearly everything. I bet these run warm, allowing the salt to flow freely.
DenholmRicshaw, Nov 09 2018
  

       How about a parallel chamber connected to the salt reservoir by air. This should be filled with a MORE hygroscopic material like sodium hydroxide. Water will associate much more readily with the NaOH forming a sort of gummy alkaline slurry over time. This will have to be replaced occasionally, and it's likely to be a fiddly job more suited to the small fingers of any Child Resources that happen to be about.
bs0u0155, Nov 09 2018
  

       It can be parked when not in use on a docking station that's mains operated, and delivers power to the low level heating elements. I'm not keen on silica gels etc as solutions. I want a rediculous halfbaked gadget.
xenzag, Nov 09 2018
  

       One could conceivable have a saltshaker, storing both Sodium (andor Potassium for the diet-conscious) and Chlorine, separately : combine to taste.
FlyingToaster, Nov 09 2018
  

       Ooooh, you should post that, [FT] ...   

       If you sprayed metallic sodium into a mixer nozzle where it met chlorine gas, not only would it season the food, but cook it at the same time.
8th of 7, Nov 09 2018
  

       Is it filled with sea salt?   

       Sea salt has a natural affinity for water.   

       Try filling it with rock salt instead.
Wrongfellow, Nov 10 2018
  

       Isn't rock salt just sea salt that hasn't been in the sea as recently?
notexactly, Nov 11 2018
  

       Rock salt is usually purer; sea salt contains a lot of other salts besides NaCl, some of which are probably more hygroscopic.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 11 2018
  

       I suppose if your cellar were fashioned from U-238 there would be enough natural heat to assure free flow for a lifetime.
whatrock, Nov 12 2018
  

       No, there wouldn't. Uranium isn't used in RTGs for that very reason.   

       You'd need a far more active isotope; Strontium and Plutonium are popular.   

       <link>
8th of 7, Nov 12 2018
  

       ^ Wrong isotope, my bad. I was thinking 235, said to be slightly warm to the touch.
whatrock, Nov 13 2018
  

       Not noticeably ... the main impression is of astonishing weight. It goes against intuition that such a small object can be so heavy.   

       HEU is rarely encountered now, anyway. It's expensive to make, and not very useful.
8th of 7, Nov 13 2018
  

       Well, you can get magnets that are permanently magnetic, and electrets that have a permanent electric charge. What we need is to find a thermet - a material that can be permanently hot.   

       Actually, how much power is available from stray radio waves in the average household? You could have a sort of crystal set salt cellar.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 13 2018
  

       // how much power is available from stray radio waves in the average household? //   

       Microwatts, unless you have a leaky microwave oven. Typically, the most powerful devices - intentional radiators like CB radios - only emit a few watts, and to get heating effects you need to be in the near field region.   

       Ham radios are an exception, but they're not commonplace.   

       // You could have a sort of crystal set salt cellar. //   

       Haha. No; you need a semiconductor junction, and sodium chloride won't provide that.
8th of 7, Nov 13 2018
  

       //Ham radios are an exception// Well, it seems to me that if someone has devised a radio capable of cooking ham, it ought to be able to keep a salt cellar warm.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 13 2018
  

       //Ham radio// or //radio capable of cooking ham,//   

       Or "microwave" as everyone else calls it.
bs0u0155, Nov 13 2018
  
      
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