Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Wire gauze is a variety of scientific laboratory equipment that is used primarily in conjunction with other equipment, most often as a support structure and heat diffuser. Several varieties are available on the market for different specific applications. This material has other applications outside of the laboratory, in areas of industry, home improvement, and arts and crafts.
Two main varieties of metallic gauze are available. The more common variety consists simply of a net like mesh of interconnected strands of wire. A second type is made of a composite material, and consists of wire strands with ceramic interior cores. Both varieties are produced from many different gauges of wire and with an array of different spacing patterns and sizes in the metal mesh.
In a scientific setting, wire mesh is most commonly used to facilitate even heat transfer. The metal and ceramic in metallic gauze transmit heat very evenly and efficiently. As a result of this, a beaker placed over a Bunsen burner and either placed on or wrapped in wire gauze will absorb heat more evenly and effectively than a beaker held over a naked flame. This property is especially useful when managing complicated or delicate reactions, in which very precise and even heating is crucial to the successful maintenance of the desired chemical reaction.
The ability of wire gauze to spread heat out evenly has other uses, as well. For decades, miners relied on safety lamps protected by a layer of this gauze. The very fine wire mesh allowed air to flow in and feed the flame of the lamp, but diffused the heat from the flame, preventing explosive mine gases from catching fire.
This type of metallic mesh has other applications as well. Rigid metal gauze is useful as a filter in many different settings. Wire mesh is used to trap sediment from plumbing lines. Lint filters in common household dryers employ a version of wire gauze. Scientists can use it to filter the products of chemical reactions, straining out sediment or other reaction products.
Metallic gauze is a sturdy and flexible material and can be used as the base for various arts and crafts projects as well. A fine wire mesh is useful in plaster formation and casting, and larger versions of wire gauze are often used in construction projects. Chain-link fencing is essentially wire gauze on a very large, very coarse scale.
Another great use for this stuff is washing cats. While it is hard to get something called "wire gauze" in a big enough sheet, metal window screens are cheap and readily available. A window screen is nothing more than a big piece of wire gauze, right?
Anyway, the biggest problem with washing cats is getting shredded by a bunch of angry claws. If you want to wash the cat, put that window screen in the bottom of your tub and stick the cat on it. The critter will wrap its claws around the screen and, for some reason, will stay there until the end of the bath when you release the kitty.
I got that tip from a pet groomer years ago and it works like a charm.
One of the best uses for this stuff is in repairing walls. If your reckless kid decides to go dancing down your hallway and puts a knee in your wall (personal experience talking here), then the chances are good you've got a pretty large whole to patch.
Filling it with spackling won't take care of the problem because that hole is huge. What to do? Get some wire gauze from your handy dandy hardware or home improvement store and you've got something you can place over the hole that will provide the backing the spackling needs to stick.