Steel wool

Steel wool

Steel wool or 'wire wool' is a bundle of strands of very fine soft steel filaments, 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 broaching where 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 Pad or S.O.S.

Steel wool also serves as an acceptable form of Ne'itzah (scouring) according to Orthodox Jewish laws of Kashrut.

Very fine steel wool is sometimes carried for use as tinder in 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.

See also

* Bronze wool
* Mineral wool
* Wood finishing
* Polishing
* Glass wool

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • steel wool — n [U] a rough material made of fine steel threads, that is used to make surfaces smooth, remove paint etc →↑wire wool …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • steel wool — noun uncount very thin pieces of wire twisted together into a ball, used for cleaning metal: WIRE WOOL …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • steel wool — steel′ wool′ n. bui a tangled or matted mass of stringlike steel shavings, used for scouring, polishing, smoothing, etc • Etymology: 1895–1900 …   From formal English to slang

  • steel wool — ► NOUN ▪ fine strands of steel matted together into a mass, used as an abrasive …   English terms dictionary

  • steel wool — n. long, hairlike shavings of steel in a pad or ball, used for scouring, smoothing, and polishing …   English World dictionary

  • steel wool — noun a mass of woven steel fibers used as an abrasive • Syn: ↑wire wool • Hypernyms: ↑abrasive, ↑abradant, ↑abrasive material * * * noun : an abrasive material composed of long fine steel shavings and used especially for scouring and burnishing * …   Useful english dictionary

  • steel wool — N UNCOUNT Steel wool is a mass of fine steel threads twisted together into a small ball and used for cleaning hard surfaces or removing paint …   English dictionary

  • steel wool — /stil ˈwʊl/ (say steel wool) noun fine threads or shavings of steel, tangled into a small pad, and used for scouring, polishing, etc …  

  • steel wool — noun Steel wool is used before these nouns: ↑pad …   Collocations dictionary

  • steel-wool pad — noun abrader consisting of a pad of steel wool used for polishing or smoothing • Hypernyms: ↑abrader, ↑abradant …   Useful english dictionary

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