Here is a good how-to scientific research experiment the you can try at home: burning fine steel wool with only a battery. The shock and awe the you get from the visuals is sufficient to get anyone excited. Once you can describe the science, it’s even cooler. But, prior to we acquire to the experiment, friend should understand that there space some yes, really cool imaginative things you can do with it. Because we likewise teach filmmaking and also photography, we thought you might very first like the impetus from this quick video.

You are watching: What happens when you burn steel wool

Burning steel Wool (and Photography) Materials


Everything you must make this happen can it is in purchased at Walmart, a hardware keep or online. Here are the points you require with quick links to amazon if you desire to simply add them to her shopping cart (and yes, buying them through below actually helps united state out).

I included these amazon links incase you want to purchase the necessary materials. They are affiliate links, so if friend buy them through the link, it will aid us out. An excellent luck with your photography

How the Works

The first thing to understand is that steel structure is actually mainly iron (Fe). In fact, steel is an stole alloy: iron with about 2% carbon blended in. For simplicity, lets just say it’s mostly iron.


We provided a 9-volt battery to irradiate the steel wool since the terminals are close together. Touching the battery to stole wool sends out a existing through the slim wire, and it heats increase a lot of (to around 700 degrees C). These temperatures reason the iron come react v the oxygen (O2) in the air and creates steel oxide (FeO2).


This reaction releases heat, heating up the next little of iron and so on, bring about a cascading reaction through the stole wool. Fluffing increase the stole wool and spinning it boosts the lot of oxygen available, speeding up the reaction and also giving us the amazing display screen that we supplied for these photographs. Cool, huh?



Now come warn you about the hazards. Be very careful with this. You are dealing an extremely hot things and spreading them end a considerable distance. Try to always do it end water or concrete together they will capture things ~ above fire, also when she trying to it is in careful. Plus, some world consider this littering as you constantly send out small chunks that steel. Carry out you ideal to clean it every up when you’re done.

And that course, lock can likewise burn you. Make certain you always have:

Eye protectionHead protectionA Fire ExtinguisherNon-flammable apparel to cover your skinglovesSteel wool Science

Weigh the stole Wool

The science of this is pretty cool. You’re basically developing a new substance—iron oxide—from iron and also oxygen. After the reaction, the final product is actually heavier than the initial steel wool. That would have thought that burning something would certainly make it sweet more? That’s nice neat!

Another Science video clip About steel Wool

If you’re a parental or teacher and want to present your students/kids to this without in reality doing it, I additionally recommend watching this science video clip we did.

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Again, remember come be very careful through this. Good luck doing science and/or taking photographs with steel wool.