Self-heating soup sounds like something from the future: Push a button on the can, and three minutes later the contents are piping hot. But its widely available today, along with self-heating coffee and hot chocolate. In Japan, I even found self-heating sake. Pretty high-tech!
Or not. In fact, these products use a chemical reaction known since at least 4000 B.C.—the mixing of quicklime and water. When you roast limestone at about 1,650�F, it converts to quicklime, a powder used to disinfect corpses in war zones. Mix quicklime with water, and it grabs and binds the water molecules, releasing lots of energy in the form of heat. (The material left over, known as hydrated or slaked lime, is the basis of lime mortar, popular in the Roman empire and still used today.)
Soup is OK, but I decided to use the technology to make a self-heating hot tub.