How Does Rust Form? - FamilyEducation

How Does Rust Form?

In this science activity, children will learn about rust and how it forms.

Materials

  • Steel wool
  • Paper and pencil
  • Water
  • Shallow pan
Directions
  1. Pour water into the pan until it is about one inch deep.
  2. Place the steel wool in the water.
  3. Make a chart with days one to five down the left side and the heading "What the steel wool looks like" on the right side of your paper.
  4. Each day, describe the appearance of the steel wool on your chart. Can you explain the changes?
Note: Iron is the main chemical in steel wool. In the presence of water, it "oxidizes" and forms iron oxide, or rust. That is why old cars rarely have rust in dry climates and often have rust in wet climates.
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