Iron oxygen iron III oxide
Iron combusts in oxygen to form various iron oxides, mainly iron(III) oxide: 4 Fe (s) + 3 O2 (g) ==> 2 Fe2O3 (s) Iron in its usual bulk solid form will only burn when in pure oxygen with when a great deal of heat is supplied. This is what a cutting torch does. As we can see in this demo, however, when iron is subdivided finely it burns readily enough in air. We also see that when the concentration of oxygen is increased, the rate of reaction also increases greatly. Air is about 20 percent oxygen, so when we burn the steel wool in pure oxygen, we have increased the concentration by a factor of about five.
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