Science Experiments

Burning Iron - Igniting wire wool

Fri, 30th Sep 2011

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What you Need

A tin lid or something fireproof

Something insulating you don't care much for

A 9V PP3 battery

Some wire wool

What to do

First this experiment involves burning iron, which is very very hot, don't touch it, and it and the object it is sitting on will get hot, so don't touch them until they have cooled down.

Find something fireproof and then sit it on something you are not too fond of. A tin lid sitting on an old plate would be ideal.

Make sure there isn't anything flammable near by.

Make a small ball of wire wool, and sit it on the tin lid.

Just quickly touch the 9V battery to the wire wool then gently pull it away

- Sometimes it welds itself to the battery, so having a stick ready to detach them might be a good ideal.

Watch the display!


If you have one try doing the same experiment on some accurate (<0.1g) scales and see what happens to the weight of the wire wool. I found that I had to put something insulating like a piece of wood between the wire wool and the scales to avoid overheating them.

What may happen

You should find that the wire wool starts to glow brightly and little bright patches move around following strange patterns through the ball.

If you weight the wool while this is happening you should find that it gets slightly heavier.


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