Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Will Iron Burn?

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Will Iron Burn?

Article excerpt

... adapted from OXIDATION #11

by TOPS Learing System

1. Clamp a nail in a clothespin. Hold it in a burning candle. Will the iron oxidize (burn)?

2. Repeat with steel wool. Try...

... a tightly rolled "snake"...

... a thin, wispy "cloud"...

3. How should you prepare iron to make it burn? Does your answer apply to wood? Explain.

4. Write a number in each box to balance this chemical equation:

* Fe + * [O.sub.2] [right arrow] * FeO + energy


To study the rapid oxidation of iron to iron oxide. To understand that smaller particle size speeds the burning process.


Copy the lab for each student or lab team.

Steps 1-2. Common sense dictates careful supervision when using fire or any potential hazard. Caution students that iron can burn skin severely even if it appears cool. A paper mat serves both to protect table tops and give visual evidence of burn hazards (smoke and burned holes). Or, use foil to reduce smoke in the air.

Step 2. Kids will want to burn wisps of steel wool again and again. If you have time to permit this, require that they take advantage of the repeats to thoroughly observe all details and write full observations using complete sentences.

Step 4. This equation shows only the simplest of three possible iron oxides: FeO, [Fe.sub.2][O.sub.3], and [Fe.sub.3][O.sub.4] (a mixed valence oxide also written as FeO * [Fe.sub.2][O.sub.3]). These oxides, when hydrated, turn the familiar red of rust. …

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