Iron (denoted by the chemical symbol Fe, pronounced ferrum in Latin) is a silvery-white metal. Iron without admixtures of other elements is soft, flexible and ductile (it can be pulled into a thin wire).
Iron is easily magnetized at room temperature. However, it is difficult to magnetize it when heated. The magnetic properties of iron disappear at temperatures around +800 ° C.
In its pure natural state, iron is found in only a few places on Earth, such as in the west of Greenland. Pure iron is sometimes found in meteorites. Iron is much more common in the form of chemical compounds. Iron is recovered from ores containing minerals such as hematite, goethite, magnetite, siderite, and pyrite.
Iron is also one of the constituents of hemoglobin, a complex protein found in red blood cells - erythrocytes. Red blood cells carry oxygen and carbon dioxide in the human body.
Iron easily enters into chemical reactions. It reacts, for example, with halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine), sulfur, phosphorus and carbon.
Iron is soluble in most dilute acids. It can burn in the presence of oxygen. At the same time, pure iron is used for the production of galvanized sheet metal and electromagnets.
In medicine, iron-containing drugs are prescribed to patients with anemia (if the content of red blood cells in the blood is too low). On contact with humid air, iron is oxidized to hydroxide (Fe2Os + H20), a reddish-brown layered substance also called rust.
Iron can be forged. To do this, it is heated red-hot, and then repeatedly flattened or squeezed. This process makes the iron more durable and wear-resistant.
Steel is a malleable alloy of iron (base) with carbon (with a carbon content of 0.1 -1.5%). Steel has the same chemical properties as iron. To improve the mechanical properties, steel is usually hardened. To do this, it is first heated red-hot, and then dipped into a cold liquid. This gives the steel a greater hardness (hardened steel). Steel is used as structural materials, in the manufacture of tools, weapons. There are special grades of steel with special properties (stainless, heat-resistant).
Cast iron is an alloy of iron (base) with carbon (2-5%). Cast iron is generally brittle due to its high carbon content. To a lesser extent, cast iron contains impurities - silicon, sulfur, phosphorus and manganese. Cast iron can be cast into various products, such as, for example, frying pans or fencing grates. Pig iron is used in steelmaking.