Ten Fun Facts About Iron
At Arizona Iron Supply in Phoenix, we are experts in all things iron. For today’s post we thought that we would share some iron trivia. Read on to learn ten fun facts about iron.
1. Iron is the second most abundant of all metals on Earth.
Only aluminum is more abundant. Although it composes about 5% of the Earth’s crust, iron rarely appears in its pure mineral form. Natural iron usually occurs as an alloy with nickel in rocks like basalt. Common ores include hematite, magnetite, and taconite.
2. Iron is the fourth most common element by mass.
Iron composes about 80% of the Earth’s inner and outer cores, along with nickel and sulfur. Scientists studying the seismic waves emitted from the Earth’s core have theorized that crystallized iron falls like snowflakes from the molten outer core and accumulates on the inner core.
3. Iron is the main component of meteorites.
Meteorites, called siderites, are approximately 90% to 95% iron. Iron is relatively plentiful in the sun and other stars, and especially in meteorites. One of the earliest examples of ironworking are some 5,000 year old iron beads found in an ancient Egyptian tomb. The beads were made from meteorites.
4. Iron’s scientific name is ferrum.
The periodic table uses the Latin word for iron, ferrum, with the abbreviation “Fe” at atomic number 26. Metal alloys with iron are known as “ferrous” metals. The English word “iron” comes directly from the Anglo-Saxon “iren.” There is evidence of iron working in Anglo-Saxon England dating back to the 6th century CE.
5. In history, iron describes an entire period of human development.
The Iron Age lasted from around 1200 BCE to 600 BCE, following the Bronze Age. Although iron is more abundant, bronze was preferred until people perfected the process of refining iron into steel. Bronze is stronger and more durable than iron, but steel is even stronger than bronze.
6. You can’t make steel without iron.
Iron is the key constituent in steel, which is vital to engineering and manufacturing. Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. 90% of all refined metal today is iron, most of it for production of steel and steel alloys.
7. Not all iron is magnetic.
Stainless steel, which contains iron, is typically unmagnetized. Manufacturers use an external magnetic field to orient all of the individual magnetic domains of the iron in stainless steel. Exposing stainless steel to a magnetic field allows the steel to retain permanent magnetic properties.
8. Iron is essential to human life.
Around 70% of the iron in the human body is found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to all the other tissues. Iron deficiency in humans leads to anemia, which forces the heart to pump harder to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood.
9. Iron is essential to plant life.
Plants require iron to produce chlorophyll, the green pigment that allows them to harness energy from sunlight. Too much phosphorus in soil impedes iron uptake and causes iron deficiency in plants, called chlorosis. If plants become iron deficient, their leaves turn a sickly yellow and they eventually die because they are not able to produce chlorophyll.
10. Too many irons in the fire causes stress.
The saying “too many irons in the fire” means that you’re feeling overwhelmed from trying to do too many things at once. The saying originated in the mid 1500s and referred to blacksmithing. Iron smithing requires careful timing and monitoring of temperatures. If an inexperienced blacksmith heated too many irons in the forge at once, some would inevitably be ruined.
Now you know ten fun facts about iron! At Arizona Iron Supply, providing steel & metal supply in Phoenix, we offer a wide array of iron, cast iron, and steel products. Contact us with any questions about iron or the products we carry, and be sure to visit our Phoenix warehouse.