Basic Facts About Iron
Iron is one of the most widespread elements on the Earth. It makes up approximately 5 percent of the Earth's crust. Much of this iron is found in such small concentrations in other rocks, however, that it cannot be used economically for mining.
The chemical element iron is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust and the second most abundant metal. Its chemical symbol, Fe, is taken from the Latin word ferrum.
Metal is chemically active and is found in nature combined with other elements in rocks and soils.
In the Earth iron occurs mainly in iron-oxidu ores. One of these ores is lodestone, or magnetite, named for its property of magnetism. Iron, alloyed with nickel, is also found in meteorites.
Physical and Chemical Properties
Iron, like other metals, conducts heat and electricity; it has a luster, and forms positive ions in its chemical reactions.
Pure iron is fairly soft and can easily be shaped and formed when hot. Its color is silvery white. Iron is easily magnetized. When combined with small amounts of carbon, it becomes steel.
The crystal structure and magnetism of iron undergo changes when it is heated. If an iron magnet is heated red hot, it loses its magnetism but regains it when it is cooled.
Modern life depends greatly on iron, the most widely used of all metals. Iron, usually in the form of steel, is nearly always helping to do the job. The concrete in highways and in towering buildings needs steel for added strength. Transportation relies on the metal, whether in the form of an iron horseshoe or as a special steel alloy in a vehicle sent into outer space. A complete list of all the uses for iron and steel would seem endless, and new uses...