Burning Steel Wool

Description:  This is an excellent phenomenon to discuss chemical reactions and the conservation of mass. Steel wool is burned leading to an increase in mass. When I have done this in class I will show them the burning steel wool to begin with and have them predict the change in mass. Most students believe the mass will either increase or decrease in mass. This phenomenon can be used at the beginning of a unit on chemical reactions and students can investigate their individual models (e.g. mass comes from fire, oxygen, carbon, etc.)

Web Resources:  Combustion of Iron Wool - CFNS Experiment 36