Iron was discoveredby the Ancients. Beads were foundin Egypt from 3,500B.C. that were madefrom meteoric iron. Cast iron was made andused in China as earlyas 550 B.C.
What is its state at room temperature?Solid, often a grainy powderWhat is its color?Metallic gray to blackWhat are its melting and boiling points?Melting: 1536 ˚CBoiling: 2861 ˚CWhat is its density?7.8 g/cm3 at 20 ˚C
Are any of these properties important in the commonuses of the element? Iron‟s high, but reasonable melting point and malleability allow it to be used for many things. These properties allow it to be hammered into shape by a blacksmith and strengthened by carbon and other elements into a tough alloy. Steel, cast iron, and wrought iron are all examples of this. They differ by the amount of other material that is included. It softens at a red heat, and may be readily welded at a white heat; above this point it becomes brittle. Iron is magnetic, and can be temporarily magnetized. It is often used for components of instruments or machines that require magnetic parts.
Iron is a relatively abundant element in theuniverse. Many types of stars, including the Sun, contain iron. Siderites are a type of widely-found iron meteorite. The Earth‟s inner and outer cores are composed mainly of iron, and it is the fourth most abundant element in the crust. Minerals such as hematite, taconite and magnetite all contain iron.
There are many known isotopes of iron, but theseare the most abundant: Isotopes of the Element Iron with a Known Natural Abundance Mass Number Natural Abundance Half-life 54 5.845% > 3.1×10+22 years 56 91.754% Stable 57 2.119% Stable 58 0.282% Stable http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/iso026.html
Isotopes Fe-57 and Fe-58 are the most commonlyused, generally for nutritional studies. These studiesinclude research in iron-loss by human adolescents,bodily conditions for effective iron absorption,genetic iron control, and interventions for anemia.The Fe-54 isotope is used for the production ofradioactive Fe-55, which is used as an electroncapture detector and in X-ray fluorescence. Fe-56 canbe used for the production of radioactive Co-55,which is used as a tumor seeking agent in bleomycin. Copyright 1993-2011 Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield and WebElements Ltd, UK]. All rights reserved.
Iron is mined from the Earth in the form ofvarious minerals. Hematite (70% Fe) andmagnetite (72% Fe) are the two major mineralsthat are mined out of most iron mines in theworld.Shaft and strip mining are both used to obtainiron.
“Iron ore is most commonly refined within a blastfurnace. A blast furnace is a large reaction vesselwhere ore, limestone and coke (a form of coalwhich is 85% to 90% carbon) is loaded from thetop and air is forced into the bottom of thefurnace. The iron is reduced and sinks to thebottom of the furnace, where it is called pig iron.A layer of slag, consisting of the impuritiescontained in the ore, forms on top of the pig ironand is removed.“ http://mset.rst2.edu/portfolios/j/jolin_c/ToolsVisWeb/Mappler/refining.htm
Oxidation of carbon in the coke:Reduction of iron in magnetite: Photo of blast furnace in Germany
As of October 13, 2011, the cost of iron ore was inthe $170 per ton range.The price of already-processed iron is muchhigher. For example: in 2008, iron was valued at$309 per ton.
There have been many uses of iron throughoutthe ages.Before coin and paper money was invented, ironbars were used as currency in many areas of theworld. These are from 19th century Nigeria.
In Celtic folklore,iron was used torepel fairy people,such as the Fomhoire ,the Tuatha DeDannan, and Mac Dara. Parents wouldplace iron bars in theirchildren‟s beds so thatthe fairies would notsteal them and leave achangeling in theirplace.
Iron was also widely usedto make weapons, jail cellbars, and shackles („irons‟).
Iron also plays animportant part in thebody. It is needed toform hemoglobin, whichtransports oxygen in thebloodstream. Without it,one may become anemic. Iron is also stored in the bone marrow, spleen and liver.
Iron is a huge percentageof our planet and iserupted to the surface asbasaltic lava.
As the lava cools into rockas part of the crust, theiron magnetizes, recordingthe ever-changing directionof the Earth‟s magneticfield at that time. This iscalled a magnetic anomaly.
Not only does iron come from within the Earth, but italso comes from outer space, in the form of meteorites.Iron meteorites, or siderites, are used to helpastronomers learn more about space, and geologistsmore about Earth.
The most abundant compoundsof iron (steel and stainless steel)are used for construction,appliances, and art as well.
And sometimes for many of these things at once!
“Iron oxide is used inwelding and forpurifying ores, becausewhen mixed withpowdered aluminum itcan be ignited to cause athermite reaction.”(Clairenstein)
Fe4(Fe[CN]6)3 , also known as Prussian blue, makes the blue color in blueprints. FeS2 , or iron pyrite, is known as fool‟s gold. It is used to produce sulfur dioxide for the paper industry and sulfuric acid for the chemical industry.
Iron Face, from Scooby- Doo, Where Are You? Ironface, from The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour
http://chemistry.about.com/od/elementfacts/a/iro n.htm Copyright 2011 About.com. All rights reserved. The New York Times Company. http://www.webelements.com/iron/isotopes.htmlCopyright 1993-2011 Mark Winter. The University ofSheffield, and WebElements Ltd, UK. http://www.mine-engineer.com/mining/iron-ore- price.htm . John Steely. Copyright and maintenance information unknown. Goody Clairenstein. The Uses for Zinc, Copper, Silver, Iron and Gold & Their Important Compounds. Copyright 1999-2011 http://www.ehow.com/info_8562257_uses-iron- gold-important-compounds.html