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Key People:William KellyGeorgina expect RinehartJamsetji TataLangley George HancockAbraham Darby...(Show more)Related Topics:FerroalloyFerric stole compoundGamma ironFerrous stole compoundAlpha iron...(Show more)

Iron (Fe), chemical element, steel of group 8 (VIIIb) of the regular table, the most-used and cheapest metal.

Element Propertiesatomic numberatomic weightmelting pointboiling pointspecific gravityoxidation stateselectron configuration
1,538 °C (2,800 °F)
3,000 °C (5,432 °F)
7.86 (20 °C)
+2, +3, +4, +6

Occurrence, uses, and properties

Iron renders up 5 percent of earth’s crust and is 2nd in abundance come aluminum among the metals and fourth in abundance behind oxygen, silicon, and also aluminum among the elements. Iron, which is the chief ingredient of earth core, is the most abundant facet in planet as a whole (about 35 percent) and is reasonably plentiful in the Sun and other stars. In the tardy the cost-free metal is rare, occurring as terrestrial steel (alloyed with 2–3 percent nickel) in basaltic rocks in Greenland and carbonaceous sediments in the United says (Missouri) and also as a low-nickel meteoric iron (5–7 percent nickel), kamacite. Nickel-iron, a indigenous alloy, wake up in terrestrial store (21–64 percent iron, 77–34 percent nickel) and in meteorites together taenite (62–75 percent iron, 37–24 percent nickel). (For mineralogical properties of native iron and nickel-iron, see native facets .) Meteorites room classified together iron, iron-stone, or stony according to the family member proportion of your iron and silicate-mineral content. Iron is likewise found merged with other elements in hundreds of minerals; of best importance as iron ore are hematite (ferric oxide, Fe2O3), magnetite (triiron tetroxide, Fe3O4), limonite (hydrated ferric oxide hydroxide, FeO(OH)∙nH2O), and also siderite (ferrous carbonate, FeCO3). Igneous rocks average around 5 percent iron content. The metal is extracted by smelting with carbon (coke) and also limestone. (For details information on the mining and also production the iron, see iron processing.)


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stole ore nation mine manufacturing 2006 (metric tons)* % of people mine manufacturing demonstrated reserves 2006 (metric tons)*, ** % of world demonstrated make reservation
**Iron content.
***Detail go not include to complete given since of rounding.
Source: U.S. Room of the Interior, Mineral Commodity summaries 2007.
China 520,000,000 30.8 15,000,000,000 8.3
Brazil 300,000,000 17.8 41,000,000,000 22.8
Australia 270,000,000 16.0 25,000,000,000 13.9
India 150,000,000 8.9 6,200,000,000 3.4
Russia 105,000,000 6.2 31,000,000,000 17.2
Ukraine 73,000,000 4.3 20,000,000,000 11.1
United says 54,000,000 3.2 4,600,000,000 2.6
southern Africa 40,000,000 2.4 1,500,000,000 0.8
Canada 33,000,000 2.0 2,500,000,000 1.4
Sweden 24,000,000 1.4 5,000,000,000 2.8
Iran 20,000,000 1.2 1,500,000,000 0.8
Venezuela 20,000,000 1.2 3,600,000,000 2.0
Kazakhstan 15,000,000 0.9 7,400,000,000 4.1
Mauritania 11,000,000 0.7 1,000,000,000 0.6
Mexico 13,000,000 0.8 900,000,000 0.5
other countries 43,000,000 2.5 17,000,000,000 9.4
people total 1,690,000,000 100*** 180,000,000,000 100***

The median quantity of steel in the human body is around 4.5 grams (about 0.004 percent), of which approximately 65 percent is in the form of hemoglobin, i beg your pardon transports molecular oxygen native the lungs throughout the body; 1 percent in the miscellaneous enzymes that control intracellular oxidation; and also most that the rest stored in the body (liver, spleen, bone marrow) for future conversion to hemoglobin. Red meat, egg yolk, carrots, fruit, whole wheat, and also green vegetables add most of the 10–20 milligrams of iron compelled each job by the median adult. For the treatment of hypochromic anemias (caused by steel deficiency), any type of of a huge number of organic or not natural iron (usually ferrous) compounds space used.

Iron, as generally available, virtually always contains tiny amounts the carbon, which are picked increase from the coke throughout smelting. These modify the properties, indigenous hard and brittle cast irons containing up to 4 percent carbon to more malleable low-carbon steels containing much less than 0.1 percent carbon.

Three true allotrope of stole in the pure form occur. Delta iron, defined by a body-centred cubic decision structure, is stable above a temperature the 1,390 °C (2,534 °F). Below this temperature over there is a shift to gamma iron, which has actually a face-centred cubic (or cubic close-packed) structure and also is paramagnetic (capable that being just weakly magnetized and only as lengthy as the magnetizing field is present); its capacity to kind solid options with carbon is necessary in steelmaking. In ~ 910 °C (1,670 °F) there is a shift to paramagnetic alpha iron, which is also body-centred cubic in structure. Listed below 773 °C (1,423 °F), alpha iron becomes ferromagnetic (i.e., capable of gift permanently magnetized), denote a change in digital structure however no adjust in decision structure. Above 773 °C (its Curie point), it loses its ferromagnetism altogether. Alpha steel is a soft, ductile, lustrous, gray-white steel of high tensile strength.

Pure steel is fairly reactive. In a very finely divided state metallic stole is pyrophoric (i.e., that ignites spontaneously). It combine vigorously through chlorine ~ above mild heating and additionally with a selection of other nonmetals, including all of the halogens, sulfur, phosphorus, boron, carbon, and also silicon (the carbide and also silicide phases play significant roles in the technological metallurgy the iron). Metallic steel dissolves conveniently in dilute mineral acids. Through nonoxidizing acids and in the lack of air, iron in the +2 oxidation state is obtained. Through air existing or when heat dilute nitric mountain is used, few of the stole goes into solution together the Fe3+ ion. Very strongly oxidizing mediums—for example, concentrated nitric mountain or acids containing dichromate—passivate stole (i.e., cause it to shed its common chemical activity), however, lot as they perform chromium. Air-free water and dilute air-free hydroxides have little effect on the metal, but it is struck by hot focused sodium hydroxide.

Natural steel is a mixture of 4 stable isotopes: iron-56 (91.66 percent), iron-54 (5.82 percent), iron-57 (2.19 percent), and also iron-58 (0.33 percent).

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Iron compounds space amenable to examine by taking advantage of a phenomenon well-known as the Mössbauer impact (the phenomenon the a gamma ray being soaked up and reradiated by a nucleus without recoil). Although the Mössbauer effect has been observed for around one-third that the elements, the is an especially for stole (and come a lesser degree tin) that the result has to be a major research tool for the chemist. In the situation of stole the impact depends on the truth that the nucleus of iron-57 can be excited come a high power state by the absorb of gamma radiation of really sharply characterized frequency that is influenced by the oxidation state, electron configuration, and chemical setting of the steel atom and can therefore be provided as a probe the its chemistry behaviour. The significant Mössbauer effect of iron-57 has been used in examining magnetism and also hemoglobin derivatives and for make a very precise nuclear clock.