Take for example a wire gauze. What makes it so special? Well you know that when you’re heating a beaker using the Bunsen burner, you have to put it over a metal ring so the bottom of your beaker doesn’t burn nor does your beaker fall onto your Bunsen burner. What else do you not know about it? What is it made of? The wire gauze you use in your laboratory is made from a material called a “mild steel mesh”. A mild steel mesh is a couple of wires strewn together to the shape of your wire gauze. It is, however bigger than you imagine it to be. Aside from being a wire gauze, it can also be used for other things- other more natural or everyday things you use or see. Below is a list of what your wire gauze (or a mild steel mesh) is when it’s not being a wire gauze in the lab:
The Protective Screen on Your Window
Your protective screen is made up of the same material as your wire gauze. Mild steel mesh is good for keeping mosquitoes and other pests away. It has varied sizes, its holes do, anyway, which explain why protective screens have finer/smaller holes than your gauze.
For tiny animals that need to be caged, their cages are often made of this material. It makes their cages easier to clean up and provides adequate ventilation for pets.
They can be used for vines to crawl up on. They are pretty stable structures so as long as they are installed properly. It’s very cheap and easy to put up. It can also be used to protect growing baby plants from external hazards.
Gabion River Wall
To prevent erosion, gabions or rocks caged in a container are put on the sides of a river. Mild steel meshes are often used to build the container in which these rocks are placed in. They often, however require the ones with the bigger gaps. It is durable enough to hold the rocks together.
These are just some of the many other functions of a mild steel mesh. So when you look at your wire gauze at a boring lab class next time, remember what it does when it’s not being a wire gauze. Sometimes seeing what you see every day from a different perspective increases your appreciation for it. And maybe in your succeeding lab classes, you’ll get to know the other materials lying around. Get curious and get to know more about stuff. You will never be bored in lab again.