- Steel wool
Steel wool or 'wire wool' is a bundle of strands of very fine soft
steelfilaments, used in finishing and repairing work to polish wood or metal objects, as well as for household cleaning.
Steel wool is made from low-carbon steel (low enough to be close to plain
iron). It is not made by drawing ”steel wool wire” through a tapered die, but rather by a process more like broachingwhere a heavy steel wire is pulled through a toothed die that removes a thin wire shaving.
Steel wool is commonly used by woodworkers and craftsmen working with paint, lacquer and varnish. Steel wool should not be used on
oak, as traces of iron remaining afterwards may react with tannins in the wood to produce blue or black iron stain. Bronze wool or stainless steel wool may be used to avoid this.
When steel wool is heated, it increases in mass due to the burning iron combining with the oxygen.
Often it is used for professional cleaning processes not only on wooden surfaces but also on marble, stone and glass, because it is softer than these materials. For household cleaning use in many countries, including the
United States, steel wool is sold as soap-impregnated pads under such trade names as Brillo Pador S.O.S.
Steel wool also serves as an acceptable form of Ne'itzah (scouring) according to Orthodox
Jewishlaws of Kashrut.
Very fine steel wool is sometimes carried for use as
tinderin emergency situations; it burns even when wet, and can be ignited by fire, a spark, or by connecting a battery to produce joule heating. See campfire.
In Europe, steel wool products offer an enlarged range of grades like the coarser grades 5 and 6 and the very fine grade 0000. Rust-free (stainless, or inoxydable) steel wool is also available.
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