CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Burning steel. Wad of steel wool burning brightly in a stream of oxygen. The oxygen is being blown through the glass tube in the bottom right corner. The wool in being held over a bunsen burner. Steel wool is made from tightly-bundled fine steel wire. Oxygen is the reactive component of the air, but its concentration (around 20%) is not high enough to fully support the combustion of steel. In pure oxygen, the reaction is vigorous and white-hot.
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