Iron corrosion

Study iron corrosion under different conditions

1 hour



  • Put on protective gloves and eyewear.
  • Conduct the experiment on the plastic tray.
General safety rules
  • Do not allow chemicals to come into contact with the eyes or mouth.
  • Keep young children, animals and those not wearing eye protection away from the experimental area.
  • Store this experimental set out of reach of children under 12 years of age.
  • Clean all equipment after use.
  • Make sure that all containers are fully closed and properly stored after use.
  • Ensure that all empty containers are disposed of properly.
  • Do not use any equipment which has not been supplied with the set or recommended in the instructions for use.
  • Do not replace foodstuffs in original container. Dispose of immediately.
General first aid information
  • In case of eye contact: Wash out eye with plenty of water, holding eye open if necessary. Seek immediate medical advice.
  • If swallowed: Wash out mouth with water, drink some fresh water. Do not induce vomiting. Seek immediate medical advice.
  • In case of inhalation: Remove person to fresh air.
  • In case of skin contact and burns: Wash affected area with plenty of water for at least 10 minutes.
  • In case of doubt, seek medical advice without delay. Take the chemical and its container with you.
  • In case of injury always seek medical advice.
Advice for supervising adults
  • The incorrect use of chemicals can cause injury and damage to health. Only carry out those experiments which are listed in the instructions.
  • This experimental set is for use only by children over 12 years.
  • Because children’s abilities vary so much, even within age groups, supervising adults should exercise discretion as to which experiments are suitable and safe for them. The instructions should enable supervisors to assess any experiment to establish its suitability for a particular child.
  • The supervising adult should discuss the warnings and safety information with the child or children before commencing the experiments. Particular attention should be paid to the safe handling of acids, alkalis and flammable liquids.
  • The area surrounding the experiment should be kept clear of any obstructions and away from the storage of food. It should be well lit and ventilated and close to a water supply. A solid table with a heat resistant top should be provided
  • Substances in non-reclosable packaging should be used up (completely) during the course of one experiment, i.e. after opening the package.

FAQ and troubleshooting

My steel wool floats in the soda water. What should I do?

Steel wool consists of numerous interlaced fibers, and carbon dioxide bubbles sometimes get “stuck” in them. It will take some effort to remove them: stir the steel wool around using a rod until most of the bubbles are forced out. Then use the rod to push the wool down to the bottom of the cup.

What type of vegetable oil will work for the experiment?

Actually, most types of vegetable oil should work. Your oil must meet two conditions: it must be liquid and must float in water (meaning that the oil should be insoluble and of lighter density than water). All the liquid vegetable oils we could think of meet these requirements.

Step-by-step instructions

Prepare three samples of iron.


Add regular water to the first two samples and fizzy water, which contains less oxygen, to the third.


Add NaOH to the first sample to create a basic medium. Leave the second sample as is. Pour vegetable oil into the third sample to prevent oxygen from entering the water.


Under basic conditions, and in the absence of oxygen, the iron will remain almost entirely uncorroded. In the regular water, it will rust.



Dispose of solid waste together with household garbage. Pour solutions down the sink. Wash with an excess of water.