Hooked on Science: Burning steel

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Did you know the weight of steel wool changes when burned? Science shows how the steel wool actually gains weight when burned.

Materials

* Tongs

* Lighter

* Aluminum pie pan

* Uncoated extra-coarse steel wool

* Scale

Instructions

STEP 1: With a parent's supervision, place the uncoated, extra-coarse steel wool on the aluminum pie pan. Weigh the steel wool.

STEP 2: Use the tongs to pick up the steel wool.

STEP 3: Using the lighter, ignite the steel wool.

STEP 4: Rotate the steel wool with the tongs over the aluminum pie pan until the steel wool turns a dull gray.

STEP 5: Place the burned steel wool in the aluminum pie pan. Weigh the burned steel wool.

Explanation

The burned steel wool weighs more due to the oxygen collected by the iron in the steel wool.

Discover more hands-on experiments by going to www.hookedonscience.org.

Jason Lindsey is a science outreach educator with Hooked on Science. Check out his website, "Hooked On Science," at hookedonscience.org for webcasts and experiments that might get you hooked on science. Send him your science questions at jlindsey@hookedonscience.org. More science experiments can be found at www.semissourian.com.

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