Top 8 experimetns with iron wool
Which experiment with iron wool is your favorite?
Attention! All experiments are performed by professionals. Do not attempt.
Iron wool is made up of thin iron threads, which are easily heated and oxidized. Burning accelerates in pure oxygen, as this allows oxygen molecules to hit the iron’s surface more often than they would in ordinary air. This process yields iron(II,III) oxide, which is heavier than iron and magnetizes worse than the pure metal. When electric current passes through iron wool, heat is released, which sets the wool on fire. When a piece of iron wool is heated with sulfur powder in a test tube, sulfur vapor hits the cold test tube walls in a particular way, which results in a flute-like sound. In water, iron reacts with dissolved oxygen, yielding insoluble iron(III) oxide. In turn, it reacts with potassium hexacyanoferrate(II) and sulfuric acid to form the blue pigment “Prussian blue.” Iron is a more active metal than copper, so copper(II) ions in the copper(II) sulfate solution oxidize it, yielding copper and iron(II) sulfate. If a potassium hexacyanoferrate(III) solution is added, the blue pigment “Prussian blue” is formed once again. The rigid, fibrous structure of iron wool allows it to mechanically remove various contaminants from hard surfaces.
A safer version of this experiment is included in the “But will it burn?” set from the MEL Chemistry subscription.