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A wire brush is a tool, consisting of a handle, usually wood or plastic, occasionally bone, and a brush. The brush is usually made from a large number of steel wire bristles. The steel used is generally a high carbon variety and very hard. Other wire brushes feature bristles made from brass or stainless steel, depending on application. Wires in a wire brush can be held together by epoxy, staples, or in some cases one continuous wire. Some types of wire brushes can also be used on an angle grinder or electric drill.
The wire brush is primarily an abrasive implement, used for cleaning rust and removing paint. It is also used to clean surfaces and to create a better conductive area for attaching electrical connections, such as those between car battery posts and their connectors, should they accumulate a build-up of grime and dirt. When cleaning stainless steel, it is advisable to use a stainless steel bristle wire brush, as a plain carbon steel brush can contaminate the stainless steel and cause rust spots to appear. Brass bristle brushes are used on softer surfaces or in potentially flammable environments where non-sparking tools are required. Wire brushes are also used to clean the teeth of large animals, such as crocodiles and pigs. They are also used widely in surface engineering to clean the castings to paint the castings.