What is happening (scientifically) when shoes are polished to make them shiny?

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Offline techmind

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A Saturday chore, but what's actually going on with the "polishing on" "polishing off" etc?

You apply the (waxy) polish with one brush and the shoes go matt. Leave them to stand for a few minutes then "polish off" with the second brush and they come up shiny. What's actually happening?
« Last Edit: 13/10/2008 08:28:42 by chris »
"It has been said that the primary function of schools is to impart enough facts to make children stop asking questions. Some, with whom the schools do not succeed, become scientists." - Schmidt-Nielsen "Memoirs of a curious scientist"

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Offline techmind

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No prize for the joker who tells me it's the elbow-grease that makes 'em shiny! :-)
"It has been said that the primary function of schools is to impart enough facts to make children stop asking questions. Some, with whom the schools do not succeed, become scientists." - Schmidt-Nielsen "Memoirs of a curious scientist"

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Offline JnA

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bit like waxing a car..


shoe polish is usually made of a wax, or rather a blend of waxes that melt with some friction. As you rub in the, now viscous, wax flows into the cracks and crevasses of the leather. It looks dull at first becasue the surface is very uneven and rough, diffracting light. But the final polish (note that is done with a soft cloth) remelts the surface slightly and smooths it over giving the glossy appearance.

HTH