Aim of this project is to develop a better barbecue and fireplace igniter compared with other products that are available. Essential criteria for this are emissions of the combustion process, the duration of burning, the temporal develpment of the heat release rate and the storage stability of the igniter. Use of steel wool as an essential component of the igniter serves for different tasks:
Steel wool serves as a carrier for the used fuel: Due to this functionality different fuels can be applied that, otherwise, would not be applicable due to a lack of form stability (e.g. different types of waxes) and could only be used as paste or liquid.
Steel wool is a fuel by itself: Using a first simplified assumption, one can act on the assumption that within the combustion process steel wool fully oxidises to iron(III)-oxide (Fe2O3). The standard heat of formation of Fe2O3 is Δhf0 = -824,2 kJ/mol. Complete oxidation leads to a heat release of 7.379 J/g. Considering the higher density of steel compared to fuels based on hydro carbons the upper heating value is approx. 58.000 MJ/m3 compared to 41.500 MJ/m3 for paraffins and to 25.000 MJ/m3 for wood-fiber/wax mixtures. Depending on the porosity of the carrier steel wool structure, that can be adjusted by a pressing operation or the wire diameter, the contribution of heat that is released can be also adjusted between the combustion of steel wool and tat of the additional fuel contained inside the structure.