Origin / Meaning
of the symbol for Iron (Fe)
The symbol for iron
'Fe' originates from the Latin word ‘ferrum’ meaning
reddish-brown, in reference to its color. Iron appears silvery-gray
before it is exposed to air, however, once it rusts, it become
reddish brown on the surface.
What is Iron as on the Periodic Table?
Definition of the Iron Element
A heavy malleable ductile magnetic silver-white metallic
element that readily rusts in moist air, occurs native in
meteorites and combined in most igneous rocks, is the most used
of metals, and is vital to biological processes as in transport
Oxygen in the body.
Steel is the best known alloy of iron.
for its reaction to Water, Oxygen & Acids.
Atomic Number of this
element is 26 and the
Element Symbol is Fe.
What is Iron? Periodic Table Group and
Classification of the Iron Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States
of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a
solid. Iron is
classified as a "Transition Metal" which are located in Groups 3
- 12 of the Periodic Table.
Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are
classified as metals which are detailed in the
List of Metals.
Elements classified as
Transition Metals are
generally described as ductile, malleable, and able to conduct
electricity and heat. For additional facts and information refer
Facts about the
History and the
of the Iron Element - A Metal of
Iron was available to some
of the oldest civilisations including the Ancient Egyptians,
Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans. Iron is one of the metals
referred to as one of the 'Metals of Antiquity'. The ancient
'Metals of Antiquity' together with their approximate dates of
discovery and use are
Iron (1500BC) and
Mercury (1500BC). The
widespread use of this element lead to the period in World
History called the Iron Age.
The element iron has long been known, since its ores are very
abundant and it is not difficult to prepare the metal from them
in fairly pure condition. It occurs in nature in many forms of
combination, in large deposits as oxides, sulphides, and
carbonates, and in smaller quantities in a great variety of
minerals. Indeed, very few rocks or soils are free from small
amounts of iron, and it is assimilated by plants and animals
playing an important part in life processes.
What is Iron? Occurrence of the Iron Element
Obtained from iron ores
Tenth most abundant element in the universe
Pig iron has 4% – 5%
Cast iron contains 2% – 3.5% carbon and small amounts of manganese
Carbon steel contains between 0.5% and 1.5% carbon, with small
amounts of manganese,
Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 0.11%
% in Sun 0.1%
% in Meteorites 22%
% in Earth's Crust 6.3%
% in Oceans 3×10-7%
% in Humans 0.006%
Medical Uses of Iron -
Health and Treatments
Interesting information is contained in the following list of Medical Uses
of Iron, Health and Treatments.
Deficiency and Anemia: Bleeding ulcers, hemorrhoids,
or injury, are the most common causes of a
deficiency of iron and anemia: Iron preparations,
such as ferrous sulfate, may be necessary in the
treatment of iron deficiency anemia
reference providing information regarding the medical
uses of iron, associated health issues and disorders and
treatments using iron preparations.
Associated Uses of Iron
Production of steel - the best known alloy of iron
Medicine and Health Care - An iron deficiency can cause serious
health problems in humans - Iron Sulfate is used to treat this
Iron metal is strong
and quite cheap so used for structural and engineering purposes.
Iron metal is used in the manufacture of:
Hulls of large ships
Cast iron is the product of the blast furnace is called cast iron. It varies considerably in composition,
usually containing from 90 to 95% iron, the remainder being largely carbon
and silicon with smaller amounts of phosphorus and sulphur. When the melted
metal from the blast furnace is allowed to cool rapidly most of the carbon
remains in chemical combination with the iron, and the product is called
white cast iron. If the cooling goes on slowly, the carbon partially
separates as flakes of graphite which remain scattered through the metal.
This product is softer and darker in color and is called gray cast iron.
Properties of cast iron
Cast iron is hard, brittle, and rather easily melted (melting point about
1100°). It cannot be welded or forged into shape, but is easily cast in sand
molds. It is strong and rigid but not elastic. It is used for making
castings and in the manufacture of other kinds of iron. Cast iron, which
contains the metal manganese up to the extent of 20%, together with about 3%
carbon, is called spiegel iron; when more than this amount of manganese is
present the product is called ferromanganese. The ferromanganese may contain
as much as 80% manganese. These varieties of cast iron are much used in the
manufacture of steel.