By: Michael Hertzberg

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Facts About Iron

  • Iron is a transition metal located in the 4th period on the Periodic Table.
  • Atomic Number (number of protons in the nucleus): 26.
  • Average Atomic Mass (AAM): 55.845 grams.
  • Its symbol is Fe
  • Iron has 6 protons, hence its Atomic Number.
  • Density: 7.874 grams per cubic centimeter
  • It is probably the most common metal in human society.
  • Iron is the 4th most ample element in the Earth's crust and the 2nd most abundant metal (Aluminum (Al) is the first).
  • Also the Earth's core is thought to be composed of iron.
  • Blood is red because of the interaction between iron and oxygen reflects light.
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The Steelers Logo

  • Yellow for coal, orange for iron ore, and blue for steel scrap.
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The Discovery of Iron

  • Iron was discovered thousands of years ago.
  • The ability to refine the metal from its reddish ores in which it is found served as a great milestone in human development, known as the Iron Age (about 1,100 B.C.).
  • The discovery led to tools and weapons that were harder and more durable.
  • Researchers examined ancient Egyptian iron beads that date to around 3200 B.C. and found that they were made from iron meteorites.
  • An iron pillar dating to about 400 A.D. still stands today in Delhi, India.
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Uses of Iron

  • Currently, more than 90% of all metal refined in the world is iron. Most is used to manufacture steel, used in civil engineering (reinforced concrete, girders, etc) and in manufacturing.

Functions of Iron

  • Iron is a building block for steel (Mixture of iron and carbon).
  • In plants, it plays a role in the production of chlorophyll.
  • In humans and animals, iron is an element of hemoglobin, which is a protein in blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues in the body.
  • Iron deficiency, the most common nutritional deficiency, can cause anemia and fatigue that affects the ability to perform physical work in adults. It can also cause impair memory or other mental function in teens.

Iron in Nature

  • The most common ore is hematite (Iron oxide, Fe2O3). Iron is found in other minerals such as magnetite (Fe3O4), which is seen as black sands along beaches.
  • Hematite is a mineral, colored black to steel, brown or reddish brown, or just plain red. It is mined as the main ore of iron.
  • Magnetite is an oxide and it is the most magnetic of all the naturally-occurring minerals on Earth.


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