July 22, 2021 in Iron

What is Cast Iron?

Cast iron is a generic term that encompasses a range of different iron alloys. However, most commonly, it refers to gray iron. Cast iron has many engineering benefits, making it an ideal choice for items such as sanitary fittings, rail chairs, casting molds, gears, dies, automobile crankshafts, and many other machine parts. As the leading cast iron supplier in Phoenix, our staff here at Arizona Iron Supply are passionate about all things cast iron.


What is Cast Iron?

Cast iron is an alloy containing 2 to 4% carbon, as well as smaller amounts of silicon and manganese. It commonly contains other impurities such as sulfur and phosphorus. Cast iron is made from pig iron (the product of iron ore extraction). The pig iron is then re-melted and mixed  with scrap metals and other alloys, like limestone. The liquid mixture is poured into molds and allowed to cool and solidify.

The History of Cast Iron

The earliest cast-iron artifacts date back to the 5th century in China. By the 15th century, it was being used in Europe to make cannons and shot. In the 18th and 19th centuries, cast iron was used more extensively in the west in the production of pots and kettles and in the construction of bridges. This is because it was a cheaper engineering material than wrought iron and it did not require intensive refining. This, along with load-bearing strength of cast iron, made it an ideal choice as a construction material. It was used to build many of the earliest skyscrapers. Steel replaced cast-iron as the leading building material in the 20th century, but it has many other important industrial applications to this day.

Uses of Cast Iron Today

  • Sanitary fittings like manholes, sewer pipes, water pipes, cisterns
  • Metal columns and column bases
  • Casting molds for making metal staircases, lamp posts, gates etc.
  • Rail chairs and carriage wheels
  • Various agricultural implements
  • Machinery parts
  • Kitchen cookware


As you can see, cast iron has a wide variety of uses today. Here at Arizona Iron Supply in Phoenix, we offer an extensive inventory of cast iron products and hardware. So if you are looking for a cast iron supplier in Phoenix, be sure to give us a call or stop by. Our warehouses are well stocked and our experienced team members are ready to respond to any request, large or small!


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/22/2019) Pixaby