Introduction: Easy Fire Starter Technique, Using a Single Battery.

Have you got one of those "Justin Case" survival Chests? 
Look no further for the latest addition to your collection. 

Step 1: Materials

First Things First. 

What do i need? 

well, Ultimately you only need a single 9 Volt Battery, and some steel Wool.
(anything Finer than #0, Should work, however the best results are with the Finest "#0000)

However For this Instructable, and for testing purposes, i have listed the items you will need to perform this yourself. 

1. Steel wool, Grade #0000. (the finer the better), about 3$ at Walmart. 

2. A single 9 Volt battery, Alkaline helps although im sure its not required.
    (if this is going in your survival Kit, i recommend a decent brand name, not a cheepo :D)

3. A decent pair of scissors. 

4. Paper like material, Paper Towels, Printer Paper, toilet Paper. 

5. Kindling Material, Sticks, twigs, Leaves, Helicopters that love to litter yards. etc. 

This instructable will show you how to make fire using only steel wool and a 9 volt battery. 
the reason this is important is because neither of these items can create an ignition by themselves, and the best part is
they are small and fairly easy to use. 

steel wool burns at the same temperature any other kind of steel burns, over 1000 Degrees Fahrenheit. 
that being said its an awesome fire starter for anything under that, whether it be paper, wood or leaves. 

with paper only burning at roughly 491 Degrees Fahrenheit, it easily ignites, and you can have yourself a nice survival fire with limited resources, given the concept of being able to start a fire using battery's whether its with a 9 Volt or not.  

Step 2: Warning

Please Make sure when handling two flammable materials, to either carry them in separate hands, or store them in separate containers, when and when not in use. 


Steel burns at over 1000 
°F,and is not to be taken lightly. 

The wool can also give off a toxic gas, although i cannot prove this, a well ventilated area best suits this project. 

Please note that finer steel wool tends to leave shavings behind, itching your eyes or placing it somewhere where you might set a battery later is not a good idea. 

do not place the wool in your pocket, remove it, and then place the battery in your pocket. 
you might end up with more than a cool project to show your friends. 

this instructable was designed to help you survive, not the other way around. 
so please use fire safety techniques when performing this. 

And always, have fun while doing so! =D

Step 3: Prepare the Wool

1. Unroll the Wool and determine how much you need. usually 3-4 Inches is Plenty. 

2. Cut the wool! :D 

3. Loosely, roll or fold the wool until it is about 1 inch wide. 

Step 4: Wrapping It Up (Tortilla Style)

1. Grab your favorite Paper-like Material and the wool. 

2. Gently roll or fold the wool into your paper material. 

3. fold under the excess paper material (if any)

4. Pull about a half an inch of the steel wool out of the end. 

Step 5: Prepare Your Kindling Skills.

Prepare your Sticks and wool bundle fire starter, along with your battery. 
making a Tee-pee with the twigs is the best way i got my fire starter to work, but you can place them however you like. 

note. this picture is for reference only, i do not recommend starting fires inside your house. :D

Step 6: Get the Fire Going.

1. Place the wool bundle on the ground, and configure your kindling sticks accordingly. 

2. add leaves or other fire sustaining material. 

3. Grab your battery and gently touch and tap the top end to the wool in various locations. 

4. Gently blow to better oxidize the reaction in the wool with the heat. 

5. Sit back and relax, enjoy your new found fire making skills. :D

Step 7: Conclusion

Why does this work?

Setting steel wool on fire works because you are jumping the terminals between the battery 
essentially arcing the current, and because the steel is so thin, it ignites. 

The small wires that make up the steel wool are fairly good conductors, while the contact area between the fibres of the steel wool isn't so good, so they start to heat up in preference to the bulk of the wire. This is very similar to how resistance welding works.

You wouldn't think that a mere 9 volt battery could do such a thing, but in fact a 9 volt battery can output roughly 500 mAh. 
which is just over enough to heat the conductor, in our case the wool, and start a chain reaction. (given the right amount of oxygen is supplied.)

Eventually these poor connections reach a temperature where the steel begins to react with oxygen in the air to form rust, a process which gives out more heat, enough to cause a self sustained reaction. (depending on the thickness of the wool)

Why only FINE wool works. 

the current/fibre size disrupts the formation of a (fairly) stable layer of rust on the surface. the thicker wool wires, in turn would limit the rate of the reaction

The wire wool is a good thermal insulator, perhaps by trapping air, it slows down heat escape, which would help the temperature to increase. 

The reason wool is a great fire starter is because believe it or not, steel burns at over a 1000 (°F), easily igniting paper, which burns at a mere 451 (°F). 

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